Monday, May 14, 2012

Hive Collapse

I'm so sorry to have to report that even though I use no pesticides or herbicides of any kind on our Homestead I have lost hive #2. And it seems pretty clear it was Colony Collapse Disorder.
There are no bees present even though the hive was thriving with I would estimate about 75,000 to 100,000 bees about 2 weeks before.
Although I do not use pesticides or herbicides, my "neighbors" the Christmas tree farmers and timber lot owners have no problem with liberal applications of the stuff and I am guessing that since hive #2 is on the other side of the hill from Hive #1 it was the victim of wind drifted pesticides/herbicides from that side of the valley.
The main culprit these days seems to be the herbicide 24D which has been around since the 40's but has never been used so liberally by so many until recently. To add insult to injury the currant genetic tinkering with plants is to do one better than "Roundup Ready" corn and soy and now we will soon have 24D Ready plants to cause even more liberal sprinklings of toxins into our environment, whether we want them here or not. It seems many of the weeds that used to be killed by Roundup are now resistant. Now they are pulling out the bigger guns (and making bigger $$$$) with 24D.
Do seem I mad? You betcha.
There is a boatload of info here and here  and everywhere, so I am not going to go on about it. I just had to vent a little and let you all know our world is NOT getting more bee friendly unless we make sure it does.

Hive #1 is doing fine. So far...

In my research I ran across this scholarly paper on stepping back and really examining what we are doing to bees.
I am very sad. I feel like my dog died.


  1. Those are some really nice straight combs on the top bars. It's terrible you lost the colony. A question: how do you differentiate between colony collapse and the colony swarming and leaving? If they swarmed would there still be a small contingent left behind?

    1. Thanks Lee, they are great combs. I think I have the top bar design fine tuned for success. Too bad this hive ended this way.
      As far as the swarming goes, bees will not completely leave an established colony. That is why colony collapse was such an eerie event for all the beekeepers- it had never happened before.
      When a colony "swarms" it will hatch a few new queens and one or more of the old queens will leave the colony with about half of the workers to set up house elsewhere, leaving a functional colony behind in the old hive.
      When a colony "collapses" it is completely vacant except for a few workers and a queen. There is plenty of food and no pile of dead bees, which would mean the bees were dying in the hive from some sort of parasite or disease.
      In Colony Collapse the bees go out looking for food and are unable to find their way home, never to return, thus causing the death of the colony.

  2. I have heard horror stories about the fate of bees. It is scary, for if we lose them, our world will be hurting! Bees are very important.

    1. You're so right Rose, every third bite of food we eat is there because of a pollinator. We need them more than we know!

  3. I don't know what to say other than I am very sad to read your post. Will you be moving the hive to another location?

    1. Hi Holly, Very sad indeed, I know you know what it feels like to lose a hive.
      I don't know what I am going to do with that hive.
      I drove down the side of our property and sure enough the tree farm on that side of the hill had sprayed and killed all of the grass and weeds in the entire area. The damage is done now. I am supposing that they won't spray for a couple of years now but I am not sure.

      I am expecting my original colony (your grandbaby bees!) to swarm soon so I may take a chance and put the swarm in hive #2. We'll see.

  4. would you be willing to share your top bar hive plans?