This morning I moved two beehives from my house to an an apiary in the hills about 35 minutes drive away. It was a hot day today.
Last night after all the bees were in I closed the front entrances using flyscreen mesh. The hives both have ventilation holes in the lids. I thought that would be fine… I was very wrong …
When I arrived at the location and got the hives on to the stands I cracked them open, and to my horror dark damp looking bees fell out of the entrance onto the ground. One hive was decimated- the other hive was absolutely fine.
The damaged hive was a lot stronger with many more bees in it - more than I had thought were in there - and it must’ve just gotten too crowded and the carbon dioxide and heat must’ve killed them. It was horrifying. I estimate that about 70% of the bees died, the queen is almost certainly dead, and I don’t know but I am a assuming that the brood and eggs etc. will probably be dead too?
I was at a complete loss of what to do. I rang a few beekeepers and they suggested that I merge the two hives using newspaper putting the damaged one on top of the good one. I had already contemplated the same… I would have done this but there were so many bees on the ground half dead crawling around, if I put that hive on top of the other and it had no entrance of its own, it seemed like they wouldn’t be able to get back in. In the end I left it as is. I got out all of the dead bees, cleaned the inside of the hive, put the frames back in, left the lid off for quite a while and quite a few bees went back in. I misted water all around to cool the bees and give them a drink. Then I put the lid on and left for the day.
I have no idea if the survivors will be able to manage the combs and brood and eggs and dealing with the bodies and damage etc. thankfully we don’t seem to have Beetles… I imagine the bees might not be up to caring for the hive and that the stronger hive beside them will end up robbing them out completely. My only hope is that the surviving bees somehow are able to beg their way into the good colony? I know this may be unlikely…
my plan is to go back in a few days and see what I can see and take things from there. I feel like such an idiot, it was such a healthy strong colony yesterday and today it’s been devastated. I’ve definitely learned a big lesson. I thought I would be OK with the top ventilation and using mesh to cover the entrance and moving them first thing in the morning. In hindsight I should’ve put an extra box on first, or moved them during the night, or waited until cooler weather.
Does anyone know if all the brood would definitely be dead or not? Given that 80% of the bees died I’m just assuming that the brood must’ve overheated and cooked - I saw a whole frame of fresh eggs that still looked fine but I just guessed they would all be dead?