First for the bad news. We checked the hives in the backyard last week and none survived. We had 5 traditional hives and one top bar. Most had very few bees left in them. There weren’t many bees on the bottom board like you would usually see in a dead out. All of the traditional hives had plenty of honey. We left most in the fall with three deeps or at least two deeps and a medium. Some still had a full 70 lbs or more of honey stores. Three were treated with the older style formic acid pads, not the quick strips. Two were not treated for mites. I didn’t use any other treatments on the hives last year. None were wrapped. I’m not sure what the answers are. It’s frustrating to see the crocuses blooming and no bees working them.
A hive we checked in nearby Williamstown is looking great. It has a very large cluster of nice dark bees. There is plenty of honey to get them through till dandelion bloom.
We still have other hives to check this week. I’m hoping at least some have survived. At our bee club meeting on tuesday, we heard that pretty much everyone is suffering from heavy losses. One old time beekeeper in our club hasn’t bought bees in many years. He’s done splits and bred some queens and we all consider his bees “local stock” His yards were devastated. He lost 27 out of 30 hives. There is definitely something going on here besides a bad winter, which we really didn’t have. We’ve heard that losses have been heavy throughout the northeast. A state survey is being taken and I’ll post results once they are final.
The Good News: I was contacted by my publisher at Storey and my beekeeping book should be out within the next week or two. I will post an update as soon as it comes out, with info on where to buy it for those interested.