Pride comes before the fall.... and a possibly a little bit of redemption.
It was an early start this morning (About 2 weeks ago), If you are going to migrate your bees to another site it needs to be done before they start flying. I would urge you all not to move bees at night... it is too easy to fall over in the dark.
My friend Jonathan (he is about 10 years younger than me) who works with his bees at the same time I do mine keeps pointing out that we both should really have someone with us when we are working in remote areas... he is of course right, lone working can be seriously dangerous.
However I digress, so I got to the apiary at dawn and closed them up, then went home for breakfast.
Jonathan and I met up at 9am, with his new trailer that he generously provided for the task and we loaded up some hives.
We then set off with 13 hives... it’s as now about 10am and I was towing the trailer... Jonathan was following behind...as we drove through the village centre I understand that he spotted a few bees on the loose.. however there were no consequences as we came to the cross roads (by now busy) and we pushed on up to the OSR which was over 3 miles away so as to make sure they did not fly home again.
Once unloaded and put on to the stands taken up over the previous few days we released them and they flew out on on orientation flights and soon found the OSR and the Dandelions in the area.
As you can see they are flying fabulously... they are the best bees I have ever had, they are as many of you know Buckfast blood line that come from a local breeder or my own bred from his.
The first inspection was very good, all was going well and I felt very happy, now we come to...
Earlier in the week the farmer who let me on to his land called me to let me know that he had to spray the OSR against pollen beetles.
He gave me plenty of notice and a time scale, asking if I had a preference as to a morning or evening spraying session.
I spoke to the manufacturer of the spray who also gave me good advice and Jonathan who knows a lot about spraying from a professional point of view.. all was done correctly.
The night before the spraying I closed them up at about 9pm and it was a very cool and wet night. The spraying was finished at 12:45 and after a wait for the spray to fix and dry I let them out at 15:00
At this point I observed that 2 of the 13 hives we lifeless. I took the first one apart and found that it was packed with wet and dead bees. The second was the same apart from a small handful of bees and much to my surprise the queen. I popped them into a nuc box..
I cannot tell you how distressed I was. It was such a waste of beautiful bees.
So what happened.?
Well it looks like these were my strongest and biggest colonies, the hive got warm and the wax softened and the large amount of nectar they had bought in poured out over the bees. They then fell to the floor blocking the ventilation, and the queen excluder thus causing the temperature to rise.. and a vicious and downhill trajectory.
If I had perhaps put extra boxes on top or underneath things might have been different... hindsight is a wonderful thing.
A Little bit of redemption
Today I split a double brood colony, and gave the rescued queen to the queen less half With a bit of luck she will thrive.