The bees have become part of the family here at Sour Cherry Farm, so we were heartbroken to open the hive on the first warm day of winter and find that they were no longer with us. We did try to figure out if they had been attacked by mites, or if perhaps a hive disease called American Foulbrood had killed them. We’re still not sure, but we do know this: there weren’t very many dead bees in the hive.
A few photos of this sad occasion, after the jump.
Greg holds one of the frames. It looks a little warped, but I don’t think that is a symptom of anything but an uneven foundation.
Here’s a closer look at the frame:
One of the tests for foulbrood is to stick a toothpick into one of the cells and see if you have what’s called “ropey” larvae. So we tried that.
It looks a little like a booger, but I don’t think it’s ropey.
A few more pics of the frames:
Here are some of the dead bees clustered. Not very many, though.
Here is why we suspect it might have been mites. There are a lot of them at the bottom of the hive:
It seems like an obscene amount to me, but I am new at this:
We are very sad to have lost our bees.
Very sad, indeed.
One silver lining, though. We’ve got a ton of honey. The entire top super is full. Here’s just one frame, and it yielded almost two quarts.
We have borrowed a centrifuge from our friends John and Philippe and will be harvesting more honey as soon as we can.
And we’ve already ordered more bees.