5/3/14

There was tons of activity around the nuc box that I placed the swarm into from two days ago.  Something just didn’t seem right though.  I had left the entrance screened off over night with fiberglass mesh tape, which they had actually chewed through to escape.  Against my better judgement, I decided to take a look and see what was going on.  What I found was nothing like I had expected.  Initially I thought I would add two empty frames with foundation for the bees to draw out.  I figured this might keep them occupied and settle them down a bit.  But when I slid the frames in, they wouldn’t go down all the way.  I figured it was due to the fact that there were so many bees in a small 5 frame nuc.  I looked in a bit closer and saw the dreaded piles of dead bees at the bottom of the box.  Now, the weather has been crazy here lately, and the night I brought the bees home the temperature did drop into the low 40’s, but I’m fairly certain that this loss was my fault.  When I was collecting the swarm it was very tough to get them brushed into the box to start with, so I began spraying them with sugar syrup as I would drop in a fair number.  I must have sprayed more than I thought because once I dumped the pile of dead bees out of the nuc, they seemed to be sort of gooey and stuck together.  I should not have used syrup so late in the day when I collected them.  They did not have enough time to clean each other up before the temperature fell that evening.  This is one of those dumb things that I cannot believe I let happen, especially after all the research I’ve done and using my knowledge from last year.  After searching through the pile of dead bees, I never spotted a queen, and there are still lots of bees left in the nuc, probably a more sustainable population for the small space actually.  So, another day, another loss, but huge lesson gleaned from this tragic mistake.  The remaining bees did filter back in and settle down, so I hope there is a queen and I hope she will begin laying eggs soon to reverse the loss.  Also I am hoping that the bees will draw out the wax coated plastic foundation that was not my first choice to use due to some negative reviews I’ve heard from other beekeepers in my area, but only time will tell.

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