My Mooseboots journey, as is life, is filled with pleasant successes and disappointing failure. The bees were a sad example of a failure. From the exciting beginning steps to the ultimate recognition of failure, they provided a lot of food for thought and learning. Where did I go wrong? I will never know. Did I release the queen on installation? Was the hive infected with a virus from the breeder? Was the colony robbed of all resources and died out? I know for a fact that I was queenless at one point ... the sheer number of drones was out of proportion with the rest of the hive. Perhaps, I had a laying worker. The only thing to do is try again.
I have removed the legs from the hive and removed all of the dead bees. The hive is indoors right now. I will paint it and prepare it for next spring. I have also removed all of the comb from the bars. I figure that if there was an infection, it might do no good to keep the comb. So, assuming the risk outweighs the benefit, I melted it all down. I am now the owner of 1 half-pint of bees wax. Wendy and I have talked about what to do with it a bit, but it is still sitting there.
Last year, I put my name on the list for a breeder in Vermont. His bees have been bred and raised in Vermont, so they should be better suited to my area anyway. I believe he is also very careful about the chemicals and techniques he uses for his bees. All around, I hope the bees arrive healthy and ready to set up their new home. I may just put my name on the list for local swarms, to be safe.
The further I travel on this MooseBoots path, the more I learn how much there is to learn, whether it is the bees, mushrooms, friction fire, basket making, or something else entirely. I am often overwhelmed, and yet simultaneously excited to continue down the road.