(Obviously this is very late. Pretend this was posted around the beginning of April)
We made it out to the bees on Friday, March 29, on a beautiful warm afternoon. Lena’s bees were buzzing around like gangbusters. Thor’s bees were also active. And Ole, well, Ole was not doing well. There appeared to be only a few dozen living bees in Ole. We knew that meant within a few days, it was all she wrote. There was still capped honey in the hive (food) but there was piles and piles of dead bees in the hive too.
A couple days later Mark returned to jar up any remaining bees so Andy, State Apiarist, could take a look. They were all ‘sleeping’ but he plucked a few non-degraded bees off the pile. When Andy looked at them with a microscope, he didn’t even bother to count the nosema spores, because they appeared to be loadddddddded. What is nosema? It’s a microsporidian fungus that essentially gives the bees ‘scours’. That’s pig-farmer-daughter talk for bee dysentery.
On Sunday, April 7, Robin made it back to the yard to sample Lena and Thor. It was another beautiful, warm afternoon. Lena’s bees, again, were buzzing around like crazy, and now, Thor was quiet. Aye! Turns out, Lena had burned through all the stored honey and was now starving. Andy looked at the Lena and Thor samples – very high nosema counts. 😦 We cooked up some syrup this afternoon and started feeding in earnest.
And then, we got out the credit card and ordered some ‘stuff’ to feed the bees to pep them up and hopefully pull through the nosema. For reasons too boring to list here, we’re not using the traditional treatment for nosema microsporidia. Fingers crossed and here we go with Honey-Bee-Healthly and Nozevit. Stay tuned for the results of ‘feeding the stuff’.
I have no idea how we would have been able to embark on this beekeeping adventure without Andy. He’s a life saver. And, I hope we’re doing something useful to save our bees.