After taking apart the hive split (bee's gone and wax moths present) I put the equipment in the driveway. Using my hive tool to scrape the old honey comb out I had some left on the tool. when I was done dismantling the equipment, I placed the hive tool near my door knowing the bee's would sniff out the honey- but I didn't realize how fast they would. Less than a minute.
Beekeeping first year is coming to a close. In about one more month I will seal up the hives and pray that the buggers will survive the winter.
That is if they survive the month.
Upon opening the hives today to feed I found these things.
1. The biggest sugar ant nest I have ever seen ( no stretching of the truth like usual) on the inner cover.
2. Bee's with withered wings. (look this up and it will tell you your bee's have been subjected to nuclear holocust of some sort while you were away)
3. Small Hive Beetle. Yup. They are there. Eating the bee's sugar syrup.
4. Wax moths in the experimental hive split.
5. Bee's with a rather rouge attitude.
7. Moldy inner covers!
8. Varroa Mites?!
So after seeing these possible and somewhat very serious problems with the two remaining hive I came inside and sat down trying to think of what to do.
My first instinct was to look up "first year beekeeping failures," to see if there was anyone else out there that has had a first year like me. There wasn't, really so that didn't make me feel better.
The second thing I did was try to change the subject in my mind to something else like puppies and kittens, but that only led me to keep looking out the window to see what the bee's were doing.
Thirdly, it was to blog about it. Surely, sharing my inner thoughts about my failures as a beekeeper will make me feel better if people I might not know read about it.
so here we go.
Confessions of a First Year Beekeeper.
The bee's keep me humble. I can look back and blame the heat that caused my first hive to swarm. And I can blame the month of rain that cause the mold to grow on my inner covers. But what it comes down to is learning. And these sweet golden gals have taught me many good lessons over this past year. I would get deep into what exactly they have taught me but I would be merly repeating my previous blogs and I am not one for repetition. But the one lesson that I can say I am walking away from them with it is humbleness.
I went into beekeeping pretty confident. It was something I wanted to do for years. When I finally got the gals I was then confident in them to do what God has programmed them to do. But I quickly realized that just like anyone else- they need help. And if I wasn't feeling particularly humble on the day of visiting- a sting would put me back in check.
So what am I to do now?
I can treat the second hive with a pesticide for small hive beetles, that is unsafe to handle. Why then would I want to injest the honey afterwards? And with a cub on the way- this Mamma Bear needs to think of these things.
As for the possibility of the hives being queenless.........it means a start up all over again and about a hundred bucks to gamble with. They could kill her, or she might fail.....
Moldy equipment. I totally am gonna blame that on the month long rain session we have been having. Yup. Not gonna take the blame.
The mite problem......dude- I don't even know what to look for~? *sigh
Sugar ant nest the size of Mt. Helen on inner cover.....I brought that over to the chicken yard to clean it up. My hens were hired hithens for the afternoon.
Bee's with rather rogue attitude. Well, we all get em. I'll let that slide.
Bee's with withered wings. I just don't know if its mites, or the bee's age. I just don't know.
So what is the supposed beecharmer to do about this?
I don't know yet.
First thing first, is to see if there is a natural small hive beetle trap to at least try and save the hive. As for the queenlessness- employ my loving husband to help me check for them, since I can do heavy lifting anymore. (The hive boxes can weigh a good amount of weight.)
And when it comes to next year- get new hives. Go into sophmore year with a better understanding of the bee's world. Be a little more prepared for the amount of work that goes into it.
Would I give up on beekeeping now that there is a baby on the way? No. I dream of the day when our cub is out in the bee yard with me learning the lessons that I am learning. Seeing God in the golden creatures that help the flowers grow. And eating sweet honey like Our Savior did so many years before.
The bee's future is still undetermined. They could surprise me and pull through healthy and strong. But until them I will tend to them as I can, and in the most natural chemical free way too.
So first year beekeeping fail? Sure- in some ways yes. But, would I have given back all the experiences? No. way.