Saturday, March 14, 2009

Colony Collapse Disorder?

It was a warm sunny day today and fearing the worst after seeing no activity from the hive in the past few weeks, I opened up the Italian hive today to find them substantially gone:
They're gone!

There was about 40lbs of honey still in the hive, so they didn't starve. It has been a mild winter and they have been well protected, so they didn't freeze. In today's inspection I found only a small handful of bees still present:
The last of the Italians (RIP)
These few remaining bees were just barely alive and hardly moving. They were as good as dead (RIP). I did not find a queen present and there has been no brood of any kind since last fall. These were very productive bees during the last season and always were gentle. They will be missed, but replaced by another colony of Minnesota Hygienic Bees coming next month.

We also inspected the other colony of Minnesota Hygienics today. They are still very much alive and seem as vigorous as usual. They were out gathering pollen from somewhere and still had a good population and significant honey stores. However we are still concerned as we did not find any brood in the larvae stage today. While we did not spot the queen, it looks like she must be there somewhere. There were no queen cells and only a very small quantity of capped brood.

More info on CCD (videos): TED