that swarm in early spring, perhaps there may be enough honey stores for us to steal. Alas, not only was there no extra honey, there was hardly any honey at all.
More than disappointing, this was of great concern. Having no idea of the cause, I called in the bee doctor. What he found was not good news. Seems the new queen is sickly and not keeping up with her royal duties, that is to maintain the brood numbers. The result? A hive with a reduced work force, leaving it vulnerable to attack.
And under attack it was. The bee doctor pointed out bees trying to access to the beehive through cracks and vents and not the hive entrance, a sign they were strangers and not from around these parts. Those bees were also a different colour. They were robbers attacking the beehive! Wild bees stealing our honey stores!
I'm afraid the remedy is not good for the queen. She needs to be replaced with a new Her Maj on the throne. We will also get a second hive, and this colony can share babies to build up the workforce numbers quickly, so as to able to defend the hive from those pesky wild bees.
Being such a novice when it comes to beekeeping, and still a little nervous when poking around the hive myself, it was so fascinating to watch an expert apiarist at work, the things he noticed and how quickly he identified the problem. I felt a bit guilty not checking up on the hive more regularly.
I feel sad for the bees under attack. And sad for the queen. She did her best, but she's about to be overthrown. Poor queen bee.