Wednesday, August 4, 2010

From Bee Hero to Bee Zero

It hurts to write this post but I feel obliged to report it.  The excitement of last week's swarm capture quickly disappeared when I went to set up the swarm in its new home the day after catching it. 

At about 11 AM the next day I went to get the nuc box and bring it to one of my apiaries to set up a new hive and install the swarm. When I grabbed the nuc box I saw something that kind of didn't look right - there were a bunch of lifeless looking bees hanging out near the screened entrance.  I took a quick peak inside and I saw a mass of soggy-looking, lifeless bees on the floor of the nuc.  I rushed to try to take them to the apiary, not knowing that at that point, 95% of the bees were already dead.

When I got to the apiary I finally opened the box totally and saw for sure what I had feared - I had killed the bees, basically cooked them.  I thought that they would be OK in the little nuc box for one night and I thought that there was enough ventilation, but apparently I was wrong. Sorry girls :(

This is what the bees looked like when I dumped them out -

I was really bummed and pissed at myself for making such a stupid mistake.  I should have either put them in a bigger box immediately or maybe kept them in the air-conditioned house for the night.  Like everything in this beekeeping adventure, I chalk it up to a lesson learned - one I will not forget.

Fortunately there was a bit of good news - earlier this summer a bunch of us from the Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild were interviewed by a reporter for United Airlines Hemispheres Magazine.  They were doing a feature article on urban beekeeping in Philadelphia.  The article was published in the August issue and you can read it here. It is a great article with amazing photos that were taken by Keliy Anderson-Staley with an old view camera and processed on glass plate negatives.  You can read more about the camera and the developing process here and also see some of the photographers other work.

So goes life, so goes beekeeping - gotta take the good with the bad.