Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Queen Is Dead ... Long Live The Queen

If you have been following along on my MooseBoots journey, you know that many of my learning experiences begin with failure.  (If you have not been reading along, we'll wait while you catch up.)  These failures, life's little unexpected twists, provide much more fertile soil for growing wisdom and learning, as frustrating as they are.

You also know that this was my first year with bees.  And while I have read a few books and spoken with a few people, I still rely on my instinct, intuition, and observation to help me along.  Since early on, I knew there was a problem, but ....  Then, I re-queened, but ... the hive is clearly dead.

I checked in recently and found a vast wasteland.  Dead bees litter the floor of the hive.  The honey stores are gone.  There are no eggs or larva.  Only a few dozen bees remain.  I do not know what went wrong, or when.  Obviously, I re-queened too late for any effect.

All that remains is to clean it up and try again next year.  My MooseBoots path will continue.  I will learn what I can from this and move on.  I am sorry, Bees, I have failed you.  Please, offer me guidance and insight so that I can work with you next year with more beneficial results for us all.


  1. I'm so bummed that it dodn't work out, and certainly, the worst part is the very steep learning curve, and my concern, ultimately, is for the bees.

    My hope is that, as individuals, all of the bees lived their fullest life, doing exactly what they do. There was comb made and honey stored (and then eaten by the drones - which is what they do), and they lived their life-span, but without fertile babies, just couldn't go on, but I like to think that, as individuals, they didn't suffer :).

    And, maybe, the original queen flew off and found a new home ... :).

  2. Bummer... "try try and try again"...

    I'm really pulling for you guys to... BEE Successful (pun intended, cheesy I know but I just couldn't resist). :)

    I have read a lot about the trial and tribulations of bee keeping and from what I understand it takes patience and practice. Next year will be better. :)

  3. Wendy, I think the bees lives their lives. I am guessing the queen left with a crew and then the remaining bees were killed by robbers.

    Leigh, thanks for the cheesy pun...they are under appreciated in our world. We will try again next year with better results.

  4. By the way, re: puns. Shakespeare used them all of the time. I think it's an under rated form of humor - a fact, Shakespeare, obviously, understood ;).

  5. I spoke with some beekeepers in our area on the weekend on a local Farm Tour. They said that this year there was a very high occurrence of "missing queens" everywhere in Canada. Their theory is that with all the extensive and intensive breeding that is happening now, the breeders may be tweaking the genetics a bit too much, and should maybe leave well enough alone. They said that they have two new swarms on their property, and rather than introducing a new queen from a breeder, they are going to let the hive choose their own queen and see what happens.

  6. Julie, it is possible. I am counting on getting "New England" bees next years. There is a guy in Vermont who has been raising them in our climate. Letting the bees decide is probably not a bad idea ... they have been around for a long time and know better than we do.


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