Well I’ll get right to the bad news, we lost all three of our bee hives this Winter. We have learned during our couple of years of Bee Keeping that Bees are quite finicky. Their ecosystem has to be perfect all year round, and this Winter it was not.
One hive we lost to mice. Thomas and I are still dumbfounded how they got in. But they did and they killed the hive. So we will definitely be upgrading our metal covers that we put on to reduce the risk next Winter.
The other two took a couple of weeks of investigation. We quickly ruled out mites as the cause and a disease. The mite count was very low, and I inspected about three hundred bees and saw no abnormalities with their bodies or wings. What really stood out to us was a bit of frost inside the hive, so we are guessing condensation was the cause.
Bee Keeping is an art, and we have discovered that all artist do it differently. We opted not to put moisture barriers in the hives when we closed them up for the season. But I guess we should have. It’s hard because you never know. We are thinking the wonky warm weather we had in December caused the condensation, then the bitter cold January froze the built up moisture in the hives.
This Summer I’m going to reach out to more mentors and learn about moisture barrier boards. Again, some Bee Keepers use them and some don’t. It’s a personal preference, but it’s something Thomas and I need to learn more about.
So what does that mean for Piper Creek Homestead?
Well we are still Bee Keeping and have our new Nucs ordered for the beginning of June. Although it was a terrible loss, we aren’t completely discouraged. Many mentors have explained that it takes years of practise and even the most experienced Apiaries can have big losses some years. We understood that losses like this could happen.
And we see this as an opportunity to also finesse our bee yard. We actually plan on moving our hives to a different area. More privacy for the bees and less interaction from us. Before we had them in a garden area, where us and the kids would end up everyday. As well as the dogs and we have learned that our oldest dog Odin, he is allergic to bees. So having the bees in a more isolated area will be beneficial for everyone and the bees. Their new area will be where our future chicken coop is to be built. We hope mutualism will be achieved; the chickens will eat the bugs and reduce possible bug threats in the hives, while getting a snack.
So stay tuned for our bee yard move!
Thanks for joining along on our journey!