Friday, May 13, 2011

Inspector at Aggie's

Today we met the bee inspector at our friends hive.  We have been helping with her hive and because we are newbees we wanted him to take a look and make sure all was well.  She has had this hive for three years and last year she lost a second hive to wax moths. 
There was plenty of honey but the inspector said there were not enough bees for this time of year.  They may have swarmed earlier.  There is a laying queen and there is plenty of eggs, larvae, and capped brood so they may recover. 

We will inspect the hive again in about two weeks.  We did find hive beetles and they are not usually a problem unless the colony is weak.  

While we were there we peaked at the cardinals in the nest by her front door.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


 After the loss of our bees we had attempted to find a source of bees to repopulate our hives.  A local distributor put us on a waiting list. 
Then we received an email sent to the list serve of the Orange County Beekeepers Association (OCBA) that one of the members, a Master Beekeeper, had two nucs available for purchase.  We jumped on the email and were the first to respond.
Today he delivered the two nucs and they were installed in our hives.  A nuc is a short name for nucleus.  It is a young incipient colony that will quickly grow to full size.  You purchase whole combs complete with bees, brood and a queen.  It is a simple process of removing the frames with bees from his hive box and installing them in our hive box. 

Bees are out and about and seem to be quite happy.  Our hive box already has honey and empty brood combs so they can go to work.  It is a great time because many things are blooming, including the tulip popular (of which there are many in our woods.)

Bees and family are happy!

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Bees are coming The Bees are coming

Two nucs to be delivered May 7th!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Our bees are obviously gone. 
The two hives have been weak and last week we found there were none left alive.

After checking with our local Beekeepers Association we called out the inspector.  North Carolina State University (NCSU) extension office has inspectors that cover specific areas.  We called the inspector for our county, Don.  Don came to our home to inspect the empty hives.

After looking at the dead bees, head down into cells, he speculated that they had probably starved. 

At the top of this frame the white cells contain honey.  However during the winter (and we had a particularly cold one) if the bees cannot move to where the honey is stored, they will starve.

Don then checked for American Foulbrood (AF).  He inserted a small stick into a cell, looked at what came out and sniffed it.  AF has a foul ordor.  We were relieved to learn we did not have AF.  If we had, the hives, and frames would have to be burned and buried.  This is a very contagious disease and you cannot risk spreading it.

After AF was ruled out Don looked for evidence of varroa mites and found some.  It was not possible to determine the extent of varroa mites now that the bees were gone but virtually every hive has them.  It is possible that the infestation was extensive and the colony was weakened before winter set in.  This contributed to the colony not being able to access the honey and their starvation. 

The queen had either died or was not laying eggs so we did not have new bees to replace those who had died.

We are in the process of trying to locate some nucs and will be on the lookout for swarms to replace our lost bees.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


RIP bees.  We have noticed that there have been fewer and fewer bees flying from the hives.  Today confirmed.  They are all dead and/or gone.  I have sent out a request for information to our beekeepers association. 
It looks like we will have to wait to start over next spring.

But we can keep watching after our friends healthy hive.