Some times when I’m dealing with hive beetles, I feel like that scene from Romancing the Stone, when jack is in the shootout at the old bridge, “…I knew I should’ve listened to my mother. I could’ve been a cosmetic surgeon, five hundred thou a year, up to my neck in tits and ass.”
Things were bad
Tuesday, despite not planning on visiting the apiary until Saturday, I felt compelled to go check on hive E5 and see how the beetles were doing. It was bad – beetles were everywhere! So I used my new technique of banging the frames on the lid and squashing the beetles. It took a bit but I got them all out. I then added a frame of brood.
Things got worse
As long as I was there, I thought, I should check on the other weak hives, C1, B1, & A2.
- Well C1 has made a full recovery. It has a queen now and she is laying.
- Hive B1, on the other hand, had more beetles than E5. I went frame by frame and killed all the beetles. However, the hive is very weak and I don’t think it will survive this.
- Hive A2 was the worst of all. It not only had hive beetles but it was also packed with wax moths. I didn’t have anyway of taking the parts home with me, so I squashed what I could, then I dismantled the hive and spread the frames out in the sun. The hive still had a few hundred bees in it but the hive was lost.
Hive C1 had eaten all the sugar water I had given it, while hives B1 and A2 had not touched their sugar water. I think the lesson learned here is not to feed a hive without a queen – maybe.
The Breaking Point
Most of my blogs are written in the early hours on Monday mornings. However, I am writing this one on Wednesday because, while this blog is meant to entertain my readers, it is also a journal of my beekeeping experience and I need to remember this day… this is the day I almost gave up!
I’m not being dramatic here… I truly considered throwing in the towel yesterday and just going back to college to finish my degree (something I have put on hold while I devote all my time to bees).
“That which does not kill us makes us strong” but it’s amazing what doesn’t kill us.
26 hives have been reduced to 21 healthy and 2 on life support.
Time to pull myself (and my bees) up by the bootstraps! Time to bring a few hives home and start making queens for the upcoming splits.
Today, those two hives on life support will get combined into one hive and I will also shake some other nurse bees in with them to create a builder hive.
I will split hive B4 and bring the queen half home.
Come Monday… We will have queen cells!