Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Demise of A Hive

My smaller hive, aka the Playa Vista bees, have never been strong since they swarmed last June.
 I checked on them periodically but did not venture deep into the hive.  They seemed okay the last time I looked about six weeks ago.  They had an ant attack then which I cleaned up and looked inside.  The top super had empty comb and the next super was about the same but there were bees in the bottom, a good number were on top of the frames. 
The ants were back again yesterday.  After cleaning them off and filling the water moats I decided to look inside.
This wad of wax moth web completely filled one of the frames in the top super.
These frames were clean the last time I looked.  Now they were half eaten and full of wax worm detritus.  There were worms through out the top two supers.  The bees in the hive were long gone.  The only bees were scavenging honey and pollen.
Too bad the resident Black Widows did not deal with the wax moths.  Smush time..
One of the evils on the comb.
The bottom frames seemed to be clean of worms but some had fallen to the bottom board
After filling the water moats, both base blocks got good coats of Tanglefoot inside and out.
Some of the comb was dark and some was lighter but the bees kept coming by and checking for honey and pollen
There were a number of empty queen cells,not all of them were on the bottom of the frames.
 After carefully inspecting all the frames for wax worm and continuing to sweep off ants, I put the hive back together.  There was no evidence of robbing, the comb was intact except for the wax worm messes.  The old hive just left and the worms moved in with the ants close behind.

Next to the vent in the middle you can see an interested spectator waiting for more wax worms to be tossed out.  The bird hung around a long time and then started picking bees when I was leaving.
I had been tempted to put one of the swarms I captured recently into this hive.  It is a good thing I waited.  They would have left very quickly.  Now that it is much cleaner maybe a swarm will come looking for a home.  If not I will go out an catch one.   In a few days I will take the hive apart again and check for wax worms again.  The small ones can hide in small spaces.


Karessa said...

Ugh! Sorry about your lost hive and the wax moths adding insult to injury!

Dennis In The Dale said...

Ir iS difficult to determine if they left because of the wax worm or the wax worm came when they left. They were okay in Feb when I looked at them, somewhere along the line they decided to take off. There were no dead bees or signs of robbing anywhere.
I checked this morning and no further sign of wax worm. I will check more next week.
I will have another swarm soon, there are enough around here. This is a good example of why you need more than one hive.

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

So far I haven't had to deal with wax moths. I thought they tended to attack very weak or dead hives.

You have a fascinating blog.