Honeyflow.com | FAQ's |

Devastated & heartbroken - What to do?

Hi,

I had to move my hive to another home, a few days ago in the evening, covered the entrance with some mesh to allow airflow whilst keeping the bees inside, I live on Central Coast, NSW, Australia. The intention the next day was (as it was cooler 20 deg) to put some leaves over the entrance etc. to encourage re-orientation. However, when I went to do this the front mesh was bulging out…long story short I have killed my hive, I have 10 frames of brood & honey & had recently put the super on, it was going so well.
I believe that the heat generated within the hive was so high that the colony has died. I inspected it & was confronted with nothing short of a horrific sight, thousands upon thousands of dead bees.
My devastation at this sad sight cannot be put into words, I feel so bad for the poor bees.
There seems to be no activity within the hive when listening now

I don’t know what to do know?
Is it too late to start again this year?
What do I do with the frames in the hive? 6 are foundation framed 4 not, they have collapsed so I removed the comb. But are populated with brood etc.

Massive thanks in advance for any help

Hi Wayne, I understand & have experienced the devastation you’re feeling.

It probably isn’t too late to start again. It’s not like you’re going to get a harsh winter like they get in North America, for example.

In regards to your loss: sometimes ventilation, as I found out the hard way, just isn’t enough. When you think about it, bees are trying to get out at the same time as other bees are trying to circulate air in & out of the hive. I think it’s the bees trying to get out, that blocks the air, which suffocates & kills the colony.
The brood will be all dead. I just render it all down to retrieve the wax before getting the frames ready to start again.

2 Likes

I also had the same sad learning experience. I closed up two hives late in an evening- with mesh over the entrances. I then moved the hives just before sunrise- a one hour journey. Unfortunately it was a warm summer night and the morning was very hot even at sunrise. When I arrived at the new site one of the beehives had perished just as yours did. The other was completely fine. The one that died was VERY crowded and had a lot of fresh nectar in it. the mistakes I made were closing the night before- I think that hive was already stressed by morning- and not enough ventilation. Both hives had vents in the lids and I closed the entrances with mesh but it wasn’t enough.

I have a friend who is a very experienced beekeeper and she always puts mesh screened lids on her hives before moving them. A few months ago we moved a hive a 6 hour drive from Sydney to bellingen- in the daytime. The hive arrived absolutely perfect and within half an hour the bees were bringing back pollen.

it’s very easy to make a mesh lid- in a pinch you can just use tape to tape a piece of fly screen over the top of the box. Just take care not to touch the mesh screen- I did and copped a sting.

2 Likes

Thank you for the replies, what is the best way to clean out the frames? I have 6 foundation based frames & 4 open frames.

there are many ways off going about it- but basically cut out all the comb and render it down in a large pot with boiling water. The wax and muck that hardens on the top once it cools down can be re-melted and sieved through a paper oil filter to produce some good clean beeswax. The muck and water can all be composted/buried.

it’s an unpleasant smelly job- best to just get right on and do it- and then try and forget it all as soon as you can. Don’t leave the combs laying about as they will attract wax moths and possibly robber bees, etc very fast.

Leaving the combs containing brood laying about will attract hive beetles as well. Be aware of hive beetles after you render the wax down. The brood in the slumgum will be an attractant for them.

I make my own mulch with a chipper/shredder. I heavily dilute the slumgum into other material while I’m making mulch. That way beetles wont find it to lay eggs in. I store it in an airtight bucket in the mean time.

Other side of the country…I started my first hive in late February. Just don’t expect a harvest this Season and don’t be too bullish about putting a Super on. Make sure that Brood Box is packed to the rafters first.

The first thing to do, though, is learn from this time.

If your frames have capped brood or eggs but no nurse bees, they’ll be dead soon enough. Unless you can get a queen and a package immediately I’d euthanize the lot.

You could try getting a package and a few frames of capped brood and eggs and try restarting that way if you were really keen…

1 Like

Cheers, oh I’ve learnt alright. Such a hard lesson and such a heartbreaking experience but I’m keen to start again as soon as I can get a NUC or package.
Will remove the frames and strip down to the foundation and start again.

Perhaps to state the obvious, bees need water. Every year or two one of my neighbours gets the fence capping treated for spiders. They let me know so I can trap my bees. I put water in front of the hive and then jerry rig a few poles, mesh and tarpaulins to keep them confined and protected from any drifting spray for the day. They can come and go from the hive to the water but can’t go anywhere else. I also ensure I don’t block through ventilation (the fence runs parallel to the hive and usual flight path).

That need for water is something to keep in mind too.