Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Highs, the Lows & the I Don't Know What to Do

I am so stuck. I just don't know what the heck to do. Well I mean I can think of what to do but I just need a few minutes here to try to figure things out--

To settle my mind and think...

I went to the bee yard today to switch 2 honey supers, putting a full one on top of an empty one with frames that need drawn comb.
The bees hadn't been drawing the comb so the shift is in hopes that the bees will notice the super.
I got this done in less than a minute and with minimal smoke (Hive #2).
But before I got to that point as I approached the hives I noticed low activity again on both hives.

It was 6:00 in the evening and a little overcast but it wasn't raining. The rain is scheduled for tomorrow.

It just didn't seem right to me again mostly because there weren't even many bees hanging out on the stoop, nor were there many bees hanging out just inside the hive - you know, the bees you can see on the bottom board if you lean down and look inside.
But worst of all, I saw a ball of bees on the ground. A small ball, and sticking out from the cluster was a golden body. A beautiful golden body with a long abdomen.
The queen. And she was dead.

I brushed the bees away from her and picked her up.

I was hoping against hope this might be another queen that hatched and was defeated by the lovely queen.

There's just no way to know for sure.

Unfortunately she looks a lot like the queen in the photos taken the other day.

What now? I think it's time to call in some professional help to have a look see.
I need experienced eyes to look and tell me what they see.

It may be time as well to buy a queen.

I noticed "white stuff" sticking out her rear end as well as part of her stinger.
I don't know if the white stuff is parts of drones after mating or her own organs.

It's all a big mystery. Talk about The Secret Life of Bees.

Here are the photos, for my records, but I certainly did not enjoy this photo op. She does have a small dent mark on her back.
I looked under the microscope and it doesn't look like it punctured her flesh, but it would be the right size for a sting mark.
It is very possible this is a smaller queen that lost a battle. I guess time will certainly tell.

And look at the front porch on my hives in the photo - looks way to quiet to me for early evening.

I didn't realize there would be so many ups and downs in beekeeping, at least so close together. I confess that today I'm not happy to be a beekeeper. (Don't worry, I'm not one to give up easily).

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