It is not for nothing that some of the most morbid phrases describe the season of late spring. “Beware the ides of March” and “nothing is certain but death and taxes” seems appropriate as we lost a hive sometime between March 15 and April 15. It was our original hive that died. We last heard signs of life onMarch 16. The outside of the hive was covered in bee excrement, as were the top bars. The hive was sick and had been since early January. They had dysentery – a bad case of bee diarrhea, possibly caused by nosema, although the only way we will know is if we send the bees to the lab in Beltsville, MD. (Which we may still do, it sounds cool) Fumagillian is the usual treatment for this, however in order to give Fumagillian you need to be feeding syrup. And in order to feed syrup you need the temperature to be above freezing. With 9″ of new snow on the 19th it was too early to feed syrup and thus medication. The two other hives made it through.
We went through all the hives when it got a bit warmer. The hive that was weak last fall is still very weak, only about 2 frames of bees or less. But we saw the queen and they are on there way up. The other hive was quite strong. They had built up around 5 frames of bees, and still had honey. They are also still as cranky as ever as one came flying out at me as soon as I tried to look into the hive.
The dead hive we brought inside and cleaned all the equipment. It can be reused, but ever surface has to be cleaned first, which took a while. I put the bees in alcohol so we can send them to Maryland to be tested.
All the frames of the top box were empty, it was kind of sad.
;As of mid April both remaining hives were onsugar syrup. The weak hive also showed signs of nosema and dysentery, so we gave them Fumagillian. The strong hive didn’t really need sugar or medicine, but we gave them some sugar anyways just so they wouldn’t try to rob sugar syrup from the weak hive.