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The Silent Bee Hive

30 Apr

7 months later, it’s time to clean the hive of doom, utterly devastated by wax moths last September. Like the unbearable pain of losing your sweetest love, sometimes denial works best. Denial and the slow plod of time’s anesthesia.

But eventually, one must don a pair of work gloves and dig in. This weekend, I finally lifted the lid of my devastated hive and began the slow and disgusting work of cleaning her out.

Cleaning up a hive destroyed by wax moths

Fortunately, the chill of winter had killed all remaining wax moths, and robber bees had removed all remaining drops of honey. So, you see, avoidance seems to have worked in my favor after all.

Cleaning up a hive destroyed by wax moths Cleaning up a hive destroyed by wax moths

What would have been a sticky slime-filled mess, was now simply dessicated and devoid of life.

Cleaning up a hive destroyed by wax moths

And so, I’ll clean off the cocoons and webbing. I’ll freeze the frames to kill any remaining moth eggs. And I’ll pick up my heavy heart and start over.

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10 Responses to “The Silent Bee Hive”

  1. cravesadventure May 1, 2012 at 8:46 am #

    Sorry to hear you lost a hive. Here’s to new beginnings.

    • mistress beek May 1, 2012 at 8:49 am #

      Thanks for the kind words. The good news is that I’m cleaning it out to make room for an upcoming split, so here’s to more bees!

  2. karcuri13 May 1, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

    Even though losing a hive sucks, I’m glad to hear that it will soon have new owners. I noticed you have 9 frames in this hive? Was it going to be a honey super?

    • mistress beek May 1, 2012 at 3:18 pm #

      Very observant, sir! This was one of the hives we converted entirely to 9 frames. It makes honey harvesting easier, and so to keep the vertical spacing aligned for ventilation, we just converted all boxes to use 9 frame spacers.

      • karcuri13 May 1, 2012 at 3:29 pm #

        Very interesting. Did you have any issues with them drawing out comb? I’ve always heard you can go to a 9 frame format in a 10 frame super, but the usual recommendation was to wait until comb was drawn out before going down to 9 frames.

  3. mistress beek May 1, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

    Well this was such a monster hive, brimming with bees that I think they were just grateful for the space and had little problem drawing out comb. I don’t recall exactly but wouldn’t be surprised if we converted an existing hive from 10 to 9 frames and then checkerboarded the supers with drawn comb before adding empties.

  4. Miguel Navrot May 1, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

    Startling images, Chantal. Catacombesque.

    • mistress beek May 2, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by, Miguel. Let me know if you ever want to shoot some dead bees (or alive ones for that matter) 😉

  5. PatLoftin May 2, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

    I am thinking about hitting into beekeeping from what I can tell its a little late to start this year so I’m doing and buying for next year but I’m thinking about taking a wild hive from the eves of a friends house instead of letting him kill them and putting them into a top rail hive and see what happens may learn a few things first hand before I invest a lot of money any advice or commits

  6. Wendy June 19, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

    Hi- just found the site showing your top bar with 2 langstroth hives on top. I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out how to move bees from langstroth to top bar and since the langstroth was not as wide as the top bar, trying to cover the small gaps to stop bees from coming out the sides. Your pictures were great and I think I will add the spacers and another langstroth to balance it out. how did your hive do- i know the pics were from 2009…

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