Never let it be said that I don't share my epic fails with you. The potatoes were one, but this one was probably worse.
I went in to the hive today, as it was mild, to see if they needed the feeder put in. I will say, it's looked pretty quiet over there for a few weeks. Of course, it's also been really cold, so I thought maybe they were all laying low. Not so. When I got the hive open, this is what I saw:
I have no idea what happened. It's not CCD, as far as I can tell, because it's not like they just died and left everything behind. It's like they moved out.
Maybe they swarmed. But then there would be some bees left. Maybe the queen died and they didn't replace her. I have no idea. All I can tell is that there weren't enough dead bees in the bottom to make up a whole hive, so most of them went somewhere else.
You got me. What a failure.
Anyway, I'm not one to let all of this go to waste. I scraped a fair bit of comb for the wax and brought it inside to render.
It's not really nice stuff. Some of it is, but a lot of it is crappy. I'm doing it anyway, so I can see if there's anything salvageable about this disaster. I currently have it bubbling away over a double boiler to melt it, and then I'll strain it through some layers of cheesecloth to get out the yutz, which is probably most of it. Whatever I get will be fine. Word of advice: Beeswax fresh from the comb takes a long time to melt down, so be patient. I've done this method before, and it took a long time. A long, long time.
The only question left is; do I get back up on this horse and try again next year, or do I give it up? There's a lot of expensive equipment involved here that would go unused, so I'm tempted to try again. However, this was a big, expensive bummer. Should I sink the money in again or not? Choices, choices. I'm going to have to think it out.
In the meantime, I will render wax. I'll show you a picture when it's all done, and hope for bee-ter days ahead.