Aftermath

Oh my gosh! What happened here?

Well here’s my beeyard after the malathion.

First impression:

  • bee flight almost absent
  • no massive piles of dead bees
  • ****** horses!

Bees

Not many dead bees. Not many flying ones either.

There was lots of alfalfa blooming. But few bees were flying. Hive inspections revealed most of the damage had been done to foraging bees away from the hives.

  • Two hives appeared relatively unscathed. They had average bee populations and were actively storing nectar
  • Two hives had lost most of their foraging bees but suffered only minor bee loss at the hive. They will recover in shape to survive the winter
  • Three hives lost all of their field force and suffered significant bee loss at the hive. They are still tending brood. But will not be in good enough shape to over winter
  • Three hives are goners. They have no field force. Only a few frames of bees. They’re not rearing brood . And they can’t take care of any brood reared before the spray

Hives

HeEEeee. That’s horse talk for new wood and paint. Good eating!

This equipment was brand new and now look at it.

Horses got into them. Chewed them up. And knocked them about. I’ve kept bees around horses for 40 years and never seen this kind of horse problem.

This season, I’d replaced my ‘normal’ mongrel bees with some gentle one’s from Zia and Koehnen. These bees are a joy to work. But there’s something to be said for running mongrel bees. One encounter with them and most horses would have an experience to remember. No more problem.

But with gentle bees and most of the field force done in by the spray job, these hives didn’t put up much of a defense. They just hunkered down. I suspect that for a bored, but neurotic horse with some diet deficiency, it was easy pickings. Or should I say chewing. And spiced up with a little Malathion, what more could any horse want? 🙂

Results

Not as bad as I’d thought. Not as good as I’d hoped. And a little bit of surprise tossed in as a bonus. Out of ten hives, here’s the results:

  • Four hives have survived with enough bee population to make it. Six did not
  • Two hives will need minor supplemental feeding to over winter
  • Two  hives will need maximum supplemental feeding to overwinter
  • The yard will need to be horse proofed or moved for any hives to survive the winter

I’ll probably take the six non-surviving colonies, combine them, and overwintering them, as nucs, in duplex hives. They will take a maximum amount of care. And need an ideal winter location. But next year has got to be better than this one.

-bwguy