bee update

Sadly, one of our two bee hives didn’t survive.

In our wisdom as new bee parents, anxious to make sure our hives were safe and comfortable, we decided that we shouldn’t open up the flower-pot hive and cut the comb out to transfer the bees to their proper home until the weather was a bit better. We got them to the property late at night, and the next day was unseasonably chilly, grey and rainy. So we left them in their flower pot, inside the plastic crate we used to transport them.

The lid was open enough to allow for bee movement and ventilation, but partly shut to keep the rain out, so that it didn’t pool inside the plastic crate. And we drilled drainage holes at the bottom of the crate in case rain did get in. What we failed to consider was that a clear plastic crate is fine in cool weather, but as soon as the sun shines it turns into a miniature greenhouse.

A few days later, it was too late. A few sunny mornings had heated up the inside of the crate so much that the comb inside the flower pot had melted and detached form the pot. The entire hive stank of decay, and dead bees littered the inside of the crate. We tried, in a desperate last ditch attempt to save them, to move the remaining comb and bees to a proper hive box – but we failed.

By the following morning, the colony was dead. We must have missed our opportunity to save the queen and colony by only a day or so, maybe only hours.

We mourned. Now we know better. Do not leave your bees in a plastic box.

In brighter news, though, the other hive is doing well. They’ve been in for almost a month now, and they seem to be thriving.