It’s been awhile! Sad updates all around.
I finished treating my strong hive with HopGuard and checked the mite levels afterward. They were still too high, particularly too high to go into winter and expect anyone to survive. It was too late in the season to do anything else, and perhaps a poor method to over-medicate. I placed a one gallon thick sugar syrup pail on top and hoped they would guzzle it down (or decide they did not need to).
After I started feeding, I noticed there was an insane amount of activity surrounding the hive’s entrance holes. I preferred to believe that they were enjoying the sunshine, rather than the truth that some serious robbing was taking place.
A day or so later, I reconfigured the set up to cut down the entrance holes, secure the top so as to not allow easy access, and wiped away a bunch of dead bees - results of the fighting and the robbing.
Yesterday, I sat near the hive for a bit on a warm Sunday before I could take the time for an inspection. It smelled like rot. There was a high pile of bee carcasses in front, and even more under the water feeder. I was able to extract more by scrapping them out with a stick found nearby the hive. There were flies, and fruit flies around the dead bees.
When I got home and could do the inspection, I did not bother putting on my full suit, nor gloves or even bothered with smoke. I had a good idea that there was nothing I needed to protect myself from. I took apart all three deep boxes, getting down to the bottom board to see an inch thick of dead bee carcasses and wax cappings. My once strong hive, with a heavy top box full of honey, had been pillaged. The few stragglers that were left could not even fill a frame.
This all happened in the course of less than seven days. It’s amazing how little time it took for stronger bees to fight their way through my weakened hive, fight them to death and then rob the honey that worked so hard for throughout the whole season. They worked hard enough only to stock their store piles, I did not take anything.
My nuc colony is still weak, and will continue to be at this point in the season. For 2014, my bee days are over and I can only look forward to ordering two strong packages come January and eagerly wait for their April/May arrival.
Here’s to a better 2015.