Dead Bees: A Sad End to the Topbar Beekeeping Experiment

Yes, well, I’ve guessed for weeks that my bees were dead but I was too chicken to open up the hive to confirm my fears. Who wants to look at a pile of dead bees, after all? That’s very depressing. There’s enough depressing in this world. I suppose I shouldn’t take it personally, but, it’s hard not to.

Today I decided I had to stop procrastinating. It’ll be warm here in no time, and Africanized bees (known simply to local beekeepers as crabby, irritable bees) will be swarming and looking for new homes….and a vacant topbar hive would be a perfect location for a swarm on the lookout for new digs. I suppose if I had experience as a beekeeper I’d have no problems with Africanized bees; but, I’m new to this (as is clear, I just killed off my first colony). I’d be intimidated by a hive of crabby, moody bees.

So, here was the sad sight:

And this, the white gauzy stuff in the lower left-hand corner is evidence of wax moths:

I scraped the comb off the bars and put it in my compost pile. I really didn’t feel like putting the wax to some practical use, no use explaining. Dust to dust as they say.  I cleaned off the bars with some linseed soap:

Clearly, the record-breaking cold weather we’ve had didn’t help my bees (2 nights in a row at 15 degrees, and the daytime temperature in-between didn’t get above freezing). And I now know that I should’ve been feeding my bees through the winter. Since our winters are mild, it didn’t occur to me to do this; I thought they’d have enough food. Was I wrong!

2 thoughts on “Dead Bees: A Sad End to the Topbar Beekeeping Experiment

  1. Oh that’s really too bad. I never attempted to do that with any of our gardens. But maybe at my next house. Hope you get your bee hives up and going again soon.

    • Yes, it was too bad. You know, you don’t have to worry about Africanized bees so backyard beekeeping wouldn’t be that much of a worry for you; there really are “gentle” bees out there.

      Thanks for your post!

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