Bee Massacre: A Massive & Overnight Die-Off

24 Jul

And I thought that the great bee emergency was reserved for commercial beekeepers and the good folks in Baden-Württemburg

This morning — right now — my bees are dying by the thousands in great heaps under the hive in my Albuquerque backyard.

The worst part? There’s absolutely nothing I can do.

Perhaps the City sprayed yesterday for the mosquitoes that follow our annual monsoon season. Perhaps a neighbor went pesticide crazy. I’ve no idea, but just yesterday I had a full and burgeoning hive.

All I can do right now is ease their discomfort as they twitch and writhe. Maybe remove the bottom board so the few remaining bees can move freely between the comb without being encumbered by thousands of their dead sisters.

I’m disheartened right now. For my bees. For our world.


10 Responses to “Bee Massacre: A Massive & Overnight Die-Off”

  1. Ron July 25, 2008 at 9:36 pm #

    I’m truly sorry.

    Based on what you’ve described, it sounds like the bees got a dose of pesticide. Grrrr.

    If the worst happens and your colony doesn’t recover, the only thing i can suggest is to try, try again next spring.

    My first hive didn’t make it either; mites killed them during the winter. But I learned and kept at it, and now have several healthy hives. This is small comfort to you now, but at least I can drive to provide you with hope.

  2. Chantal July 26, 2008 at 2:37 pm #

    Hi Ron, thanks so much for this comment and for sharing your story. I’m still waiting to see how many are left but at this point there’s very few.

    After talking with some local beekeepers, I’m determined to keep trying. Thanks for the encouragement.

  3. Marcia July 26, 2008 at 6:30 pm #

    Good grief, I am so sorry to read this !! I do hope you try again after this devastating time. It scares me silly just thinking about the loss of bees all over the world, even down here in the southern most corner we have disease, varroa mite being the worst at this time, I lost a hive in the autumn, but am determined to carry on in spring. I hate sprays or chemicals of any kind but alot of people still have the mentality that you need to kill everything as quick as possible and I`m sure they don`t think of the consequences. Kia kaha, stay stong ..

  4. Ken July 31, 2008 at 11:21 am #

    Simply awful. I’m sorry to hear about the die-off. Is it just one hive or several??

  5. Chantal July 31, 2008 at 1:59 pm #

    Thanks for the well wishes!

    I only had one hive and it’s now down to about 300 bees.

    Local beekeepers have been incredibly supportive and are currently sorting out how they might share some brood bars with me to bring back my hive before winter sets in.

    In the meantime, wax moths and ants are a continuous threat for the bees that remain. If I could camp out near the hive and ward ’em all off, I probably would 😉

  6. 2-Wheeler July 31, 2008 at 8:46 pm #

    So sorry to hear about your loss, it’s really terrible when the city kills them. We have a registry process here where we are listed on a “Do NOT Spray” list . Be sure to contact the city or county responsible and take action so they don’t do it again!

  7. Sande August 7, 2008 at 12:36 pm #

    My heart just sank for you. That was my thought too, when our single hive was poisoned. Helpless. EXCEPT you can talk to knowledgable people. I called a friend in the pest control business. He explained that they will do EVERYTHING they can do to protect the queen. They are very inteligent creatures.
    What happened to our hive was the neighbor put out ant traps around the 4th of July. The tiny ants walked into our hive. He had put them out on Sunday. I asked him Tuesday morning, and then he threw the traps out. The massive dieoff (about 20K) happened Monday night – Tuesday morning. They continued to die for 6 days. Less and less after the first 2 days. I couldn’t eat, sleep, or do anything. Felt like I was dying along with them.
    We fed them raw sugar & H20 1:1 mix with Honey BEE Healthy.
    Now they are back again, healthy and strong. They built some queen cells, because 16 days after the poisoning, I heard the queen piping. We had cleaned the hive a few days before and never saw the cells. But we did see a queen.
    The girls are now quite defensive with many guards. The hum of the hive is different. Not the contented hum they had before the poisoning. They are healthy now, increasing rapidly, but I doubt they are going to get back to ‘normal’ this year.
    We are now in the process of changing our frames over to Permacomb small cell in the brood boxes. Hopefully this will prevent more useless death and destruction to our beautiful girls.
    I hope you are able to pick up the pieces and somehow recover from this disaster. Ask questions around your neighborhood, try to teach people about how destructive pesticides are, and hopefully figure out what happened (send a sample of dead girls to the lab to find out the chemical that did it). Warmest wishes to you. Sincerely, – Sande P.


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