Vanishing honeybee colony

There were no bees at the hive entrance on mild days last month when I expected to see a few flying to look for flowers. To avoid starvation, I fed them home-made candy, but it was consumed slowly, a bad omen, and there was a minor invasion of ants.

When I inspected the hive last week, I found a few hundred dead bees on the gauze base or stuck to combs. It was very disheartening, again. The colony was strong through the summer after starting as an Italian nuc in late April. There were no signs of hive beetles, mites or wax moths.

Once again, I had to dismantle a dead hive and store frames containing honey, nectar and pollen in the freezer until they are needed by a new colony.

Next time they may be Russians. Honeybees that evolved with tracheal and varroa mites in the Far East are said to be more resistant to these foes. It’s a story of adaptation over countless generations, like the blight that eliminated the native chestnut tree across eastern North America but has co-existed for eons with the Chinese chestnut tree.  

Langstroth bee hive
The Russians are coming next time

I feel like a farmer who’s lost a cow. I didn’t know my winged livestock intimately, like my dogs, but their loss was more than economic. Visiting their home almost every day, I grew fond of them and gardens close by will miss their services.

Next Post: A brief history of climate sirens

About Roger Gosden

British-born scientist specializing in reproduction & embryology. Career as professor & research director spanned from Cambridge to Cornell's Weill Medical College in NYC where he was Professor & Research Director. Married to Lucinda Veeck Gosden, embryologist for the first successful IVF team in America. Retired early from NYC to Williamsburg, Virginia, to write and recover from 'nature deficit disorder'. Visiting scholar at College of William & Mary. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Gosden
This entry was posted in Other and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.