Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Sad Truth

    I was walking around the property yesterday, enjoying a beautiful autumn afternoon, and stopped by the bees to check out activity.  As I watched one of the boxes buzzing with a light flow of bee traffic, I noticed that nothing was happening with the other box.  Not one bee flying out, flying in, walking around the front of the opening, nothing, not a buzz.  I popped open the highest super and peeked inside, nothing.  One by one I cracked open each box at each level waiting for a guard bee to start checking me out, but nothing.  When you open bee boxes, there is a distinct "CRACK!" sound, and it's the propolis the bees have used to glue the cracks of the box;  this serves as protection from predators and weather. When I finally reached the first level, where all the bees should have been, nothing, not a single bee in the entire hive.  The sad truth of our adventure of bees is that my very first colony has died.  As I inspected the frames in which the bees has created beeswax and honey, I realized that this honey could be harvested.  I wasn't going to touch any of the honey this year, as I wanted to leave it all for the bees and increasing their chances of surviving their first winter.  But now, since there is no colony, I can harvest it for ourselves. 
    The second colony seems to be going strong.  They can still be seen buzzing in and out in the warm afternoons, foraging for pollen and nectar.  I am hoping they will pollinate my winter squash;  the first of the squash blossoms has opened up.
    So it's with a sad heart that I report my little pollinating creatures have died.  I don't know why, but I will be thankful when tasting their sweet contribution to our home.