Sunday, November 20, 2011

Expensive Failure

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.
Yup, those were the bees.  At least, some of them.  I have no idea what happened to them, so I couldn't even presume to tell you.

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:
Empty dead comb after empty dead comb.  Done-o.  Finito.  Adios. 


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.
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  1. So sorry about your Bees and the frustration you must be feeling right now.

    Good luck if you try to start again come spring.

    Blessings Kelsie

  2. Oh gosh, I just came over from the Barn Hop- and I've been yearning to start with bees. This is a tragedy for everyone involved, and for all of us of the world too- we need our bees.
    I am thinking if I ever get started that I'll separate my hives so that if this kind of thing were to happen, then maybe the other hive might have a chance.
    I remember years ago I was given like a 5-gallon bucket full of dark wild honeycomb & left without a clue as to how to get the honey out of it (no internet then either!) What a mess I made, lol. I'd rather do it right even if it takes a long time than to warm it all up and literally squeeze the wax to extract honey.
    Thank you for sharing this even though you don't have all the answers. It's good to have these experiences even though they are tragic- there's bound to be something to learn from it that will help somewhere else or at another time. At the heart of it- I hope you don't give up on keeping bees.

  3. So sad with your beehive. We have bees too, my husband is a beekeeper.


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