Friday, May 1, 2009
Well, the new colony that we got on Monday from Western Bee in Polson appears to be thriving in their new hive. As you can see in the photo (the bee on the left of the entrance), the bees were busy cleaning some of the grass we lay on the upper bars out of the hive. They do this in teams and it is super neat to watch. This one just kept carrying it and then finally dropped it off to the side of the hive. Most of the time they just pitch it out the door (you can see a small pile of loose grass under the entrance.
The sad news here is that one of our other two hives has died. Or, I should say, is dying. They were acting strange last week, disoriented and crawling on the ground near the entrance and then they stopped clustering in the hive (we were watching through the hive windows). We thought it might be tracheal mites so we gave them a patty of sugar and shortening but we may have been too late, whether or not that was the cause-they are just too far gone and their numbers are too low for them to go much longer. This being our first actual bee problem, I have done a ton of reading in books and online and have narrowed it to three possibilities: Nosema, Tracheal Mites, or pesticides. We will be talking to our extension agent on Tuesday about having some of them tested and we may have to dissect a few. I would really like to know if there was something we could have done better and, obviously, I want to know how to avoid losing another hive in the future.