The Bees are Dead!
Yesterday I discovered that our first beehive is also suffering our first beehive crisis. I noticed that the bees had been unusually quiet that afternoon, so I went out to have a look at the hive. To my horror, I discovered that the ground in front of the hive was literally carpeted with thousands of bodies of dead bees. They were actually dropping out of the hive dead, right before my eyes. I had just inspected last Wednesday, how could such a drastic change happen so quickly? What could it be – starvation? Poisoning? Robbing?
It didn’t seem like robbing – I had read other accounts of beehive robbing (when another hive invades your hive and basically destroys it), and it didn’t seem like it could be that. Could it be pesticide poisoning? That didn’t seem likely – I haven’t seen anyone spraying nearby, and it’s not the right season for that.
It must be starvation. I’ve been feeding the bees with sugar syrup in an entrance feeder, but not consistently. During my last inspection I saw that the bees had almost no honey at all – not a good sign for the end of summer. I’ll be feeding more consistently from now on. Also, I’m looking into building a candy board, which I found great instructions for here: http://homesteadrules.com/diy-candy-board-for-bees/
I’ve heard of people losing whole hives before, and it’s devastating. I can only hope that I’ve intervened in the right way before it’s too late to save the hive.