|Sorry little chipmunk! Snickers was too fast for you!|
|All that's left of our little gray bantam hen.|
Still, we were hopeful that this would be the year that we were successful at keeping the hives healthy and thriving. After harvesting pounds and pounds of honey from one of our hives after a few dry years, we were ecstatic to finally have our hard work pay off. But, shortly after, Jack walked out to check the hives because their activity was nearly nonexistent when we'd seen them heavily active a few days before. To our disappointment and frustration, swarms and swarms of wasps had invaded the hives, stealing honey, killing and cannibalizing the adult bees and starving the babies to death. Within days, two robust hives were decimated to nothing more than empty honeycomb.
|The young bees starved to death after all the workers were killed...their tongues are sticking out, trying to find food. Poor gals!|
|Sealing up the cracks so the bees have less entries to defend.|
Jack was equally as disappointed as I was, if not more so because the bees are mostly his project. As usual, he's shrugged it off and done the best he can to be positive about it and make the most of the situation. He took out the combs that still are packed with pollen, known as "bee bread" and froze them to kill off any unwelcome parasites. Next year, it will be a welcome source of protein to a new hive.
Though death is normal around here, so is life. The hen will hatch more chicks next spring to replace those we lost, we'll get another hive or two, hope the third will survive the winter and if we're lucky, will have another swarm join us. Life'll win out in the end.