Start of the new Bee Season

To start off, I haven’t posted on this blog for some time, even though there would have been something to write about just after the winter solstice when I treated for Varroa. I didn’t post because what I found made me somewhat pessimistic for what I was going to find in spring. I had the feeling like if I put what I found to (digital) paper it would somehow make it more real.

Similarly visiting the bees now felt like opening the box to Schrödinger’s cat; leaving the box closed, my bees were simultaneously alive and dead. Which was preferable to what I thought I was going to find.

What I actually found was similar to the Schrödinger’s cat box; one hive was dead the other alive. Sif has survived, most likely due to the silent queen change at the end of the bee season last year. Artemis was dead while that was the productive colony from an F1 queen. I will have to come up with a new name for a possible next colony. If it keep going like this I will run out of Greek/Roman/Egyptian/Nordic gods, even though I have only lost two colonies and didn’t named the first. I guess I have quite a few gods to go through.

frame with dead bees
Frame with bees that died while burying into cells for some reason. Often a sign of starvation but stores are clear at the top of the image.

When I came to take my deceased hive home for cleaning out the rames (and perhaps a post-mortem) there were no signs of life from Sif even though other hives on the apiary were flying. The weather was to bad to open up the hive for a look. So my expectations for Sif were that they must have died since my last visit were they were flying during a day with better weather.

The remaining colony is tiny, I still have her on two brood boxes. I will reduce the space asap. I’ll try and remember to take pictures next time. The weird thing is I already found a queen cell. But as a queen will not get fertilized at this time of year (and after consulting a more experienced beekeeper) I removed the cell, which already contained quit a bit of royal jelly.  Apparently the bees are not happy with the current queen (who I didn’t get to see). I only hope it wasn’t a emergency queen cell, but this was the first time I opened the hive this year so I can’t imagine were the queen could have gone. We’ll see what the future brings for Sif.

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