Hive report: Sadness

My beekeeping “career” began 24  July 2015–and it looks as if it’s ending for this year slowly but surely. I’ll not be overwintering bees this year–short of something like a miracle which is almost certainly not going to happen. For a while I had two booming colonies–then found both (apparently) queenless. Even though it was late, I attempted to requeen both colonies.  One didn’t take but on the last inspection of Salvia hive the queen 20161017_124359cage was empty, and we did see some larvae on 16 October and LOTS of bees.

Over the last few days I had noticed that there was not much traffic in and out of the hive, which was rather ominous as the weather was warm enough that I expected to see more.

I opened that hive today and found very few bees, no larvae, eggs, or newly capped brood. That “new” queen was not in the hive. Much to my chagrin, there the “old” queen (blue dot) was trucking around the hive with the few remaining bees–but no eggs, no larvae, and population at a critical level–I’ll be dismantling that hive before long.

I am now a very frustrated beekeeper–I thought I had done a careful, thorough inspection before I introduced the new queen; however, obviously not careful enough. I’m not sure what  should have done to be sure that the “old” queen was really absent from the hive. Had I seen her there with no eggs or brood, I’d (obviously even for my novice state) removed her. Now I can only assume that the new queen that I tried to introduce was killed, though the cage was completely empty of attendants as well as the queen.

It’s definitely been one of those things we call a “learning experience”–but although  I’ll be looking forward to giving it another try in the spring, I’m totally bummed right now! Meanwhile, there is an almost full super of honey on that hive for me to deal with. while I spend the winter considering all the things I’ve learned so far!