6/20/09

Mo' bees, mo' problems

Not so much in a correlative sense, as in a consecutive sense.

A few weeks ago, I posted about my lovely queen cups, all set to reinvigorate my hive with a new queen. Unfortunately, the week after, I found that there weren't actually any larvae in either cup! Of course that means no queen was forthcoming!

Empty queen cup

At that point, our wonderful Kirko suggested we put a nuc box down where the hive had been. Since the nuc had the queen, it was easier to just swap that in than shaking out my box hive, and risk squishing the queen in transfering nuc frames to the box hives.

This instead meant disassembly of my hive boxes, and shaking out all the bees from the failing hive.

Disassembled
What a disheartening sight.

It gave me a good opportunity to take some photos of my bees though.

Necter!
She could see me out of the corner of her eye. I know because, a second later—

I'm ready for my close-up now, Mr. DeMille
—she turned to look at the camera!

'my what a pretty tongue you have.' 'the better to lick the nectar with'

At Kirk's behest, I also added a clean frame of comb without eggs, so we would know for certain in a week if there was a queen in residence. It was a good idea to set up a double check, because a week later, there were no eggs in the new comb.

Ah misfortune, why must you plague me with queenlessness?!

And it seems without Her Highness and with a dying defense force, an army of invading ants were running amok among the kingdom and bent on annexing the nuc hive into their own territory!

Nothing for it, but adding yet another wild hive, and hoping for a queen this go around. So this week, I put yet another nuc hive down (pretty sure we've got the queen) and shook out the old nuc frames. Exactly like when I was a kid playing video games; I was never very good at even getting past the first level.

An aside, a true story: I was playing a video game because the game had contracted to use the likeness and voice of a musician I liked to be the level 3 boss (of 4 levels). I died reset probably 15 reset times in reset 45 reset minutes before even reset getting reset past the reset first stage of reset the first reset level. My master video gamer friend watched on in boredom, until finally asking if I actually wanted to play the game, or if I just wanted to see the level 3 boss. The latter, of course. So he took the controller, and in a single life, he got all the way through and beat the level 3 boss! In probably as much time as I spent mucking about in the first level!

Anyway. Back to the bees. And this time, it isn't just about seeing the level 3 boss, it's about playing the game too, so I slog along.

It seems my old hive was succumbing to the ants.
Taking the first frame out of the old nuc box, I was confronted by the sight of little decomposing carcasses of my poor dead bees:
poor bees

And then further carnage of stillborn bees:
Heartrending
Does anyone know why they didn't hatch properly? Is it the ant army, merciless in their raping and pillaging and slaughter of innocents?

The remains of the old nuc box looks like a graveyard; but no ghosts, only ants for company:
the dead

But, so as to not end on such a dismal sight, here is the new nuc, settled and doused in cinnamon to prevent those ants from further invasion:
do you think I have enough cinnamon?  well, i didn't, and dumped out another few oz, just to be certain
Hopefully when I check in a week, things will be peachy and I can (carefully without queen squishing) move them back into the Langstroths.

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