My Dad called me yesterday and said that my Grandmother’s main hive (I call it the #1 hive) had very little activity compared to the #2 hive. Today I called him back and said that if he had the time we need to take a look inside. I was a lazy beekeeper this year a left empty super on but when we opened the hive, there was still a reasonable amount of honey in the first super; the top super was bone dry as I expected. The bad news hit when we go into the brood chamber. There was no eggs, no brood and of course no queen. There were about 2000 to 3000 bees some honey and pollen but their queen was dead. I call around but there are no queens to be had this time of the year.
Now let’s take a break and talk about this hive. I had already planned to do some work on this hive this year as this is a VERY old hive. It needs frame spacers, the bottom board is rotting away (I wanted to go to a screened bottom board), the frames themselves need to be replaced (wax moth damage) and it needs a top vent. To sum it up, this entire hive needs to be replaced.
With all of the repairs that this hive needs and now with the lack of a queen, we will combine this hive with the hive that swarmed from it last year. (You can see it in that back ground of one of these pictures) This way we can at least give the #2 hive a boost of bees and honey and I guess I’ll have to order another hive of bees. …maybe in the mean time I can get this hive box repaired.
Update: Sunday night, we started the process of combining the #1 hive with #2. We laid a sheet of newspaper on top of #2, cut a few slits and put hive #1 on top. In a couple of weeks, they should be one happy hive of bees.