I’m worried about my bees.

I’ve been a beginning beekeeper for a little over a month now. Back in April, I installed a nuc, with the help of my mentor. It was a good, healthy nuc (or nucleus colony). My mentor thinks that there were around 20,000 bees in my nuc. All went well with the installation.

Since that time, I have done a couple of hive inspections. You can read about my first bee hive inspection here. Then, earlier this weekend, I did another hive inspection on Facebook live, which you can watch here. If you did not get a chance to watch the video (it is a bit long), I will summarize my findings.

First, The Good News

The best news is that it does appear that my queen is active (as evidenced by fresh bee larvae and baby bees). If I don’t have a capable queen, I don’t have much. So that’s good. Fingers cross that she continues to do well. Also, my bees do appear to be getting out and foraging for all the stuff they forage for. More good news.

So, what could go wrong?

Because I am a brand new beginning beekeeper, I am not super savvy yet on picking up on everything that is going on in my hive. That will come in time, as I continue to learn. But if you watched until the end of my video, you saw what I am worried about, which is a lot of dead bees. 

Beginning beekeeper April Bean shows an alarming number of dead bees found on the screen bottom board of her hive during a recent beehive inspection.

Is that one of the saddest things you seen? Makes me a little sick to my stomach, to be honest. And I don’t think you don’t need to know much about beekeeping to pick up on the fact that something isn’t quite right here. 🙁

Where do we go from here?

I’ll be honest, … I feel total mom guilt about this! I want my colony to thrive! And this feels like I’ve failed them! So once I saw the dead bees on the screen bottom board, I immediately texted my mentor, Lindsay, some pictures. She was very reassuring. Lindsay told me that it was nothing I did or didn’t do that caused this happen. But, … she, too, thinks that something is going on.

What Lindsay suspects is that the bees may have gotten into some pesticide. At this point, I’m not seeing any evidence of mites or beetles that are attacking my colony, so this is the most probable explanation.

In a couple of weeks, when it is time to do another hive inspection, she will come out and go through it with me. Her experienced eye will be helpful for me. She will also be able to give me an accurate assessment of how well my colony is doing at this point. Knowing that I have her help with this is putting my mind at ease a bit (although I’m still worried!).

There Are Some Things You Can’t Control

I’m learning so much through this process. One of the biggest lessons for me as a beginning beekeeper is that I have to let go, and just let the bees be bees. I can’t make this colony do what I wish it would do, on the schedule that I want! Of course, I can support my colony and learn as much as possible to eventually become a responsible beekeeper. But, ultimately, its up to the bees. That is hard.

I hope to have a more upbeat hive update for you in a few weeks!

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