On the day hubby returned to the city to check on our new hives, I walked down to BIL’s hives between rain storms and saw something that looked like a cross between sawdust and the orange peel that comes in spice jars piled up around the front of one Nuc and even seeping out around the rest of the entrance reducer. We had looked at all the hives together the prior evening, refilled the top feeders, and even looked in a few hives at BIL’s request as he was out of town on business and concerned about a couple of them. So I knew that this was something new, but there was good traffic in and out of the hive, loads of pollen was coming in, and the bees didn’t seem in the slightest upset.
After checking the other hives, I went back to this one and looked a little closer. In the “sawdust,” I saw little white “commas.” One of the other Nucs had not survived the cold as it had too few bees to keep the brood warm on the only cold night, so we surmised that maybe some brood had died in this hive and the bees had cleaned up. That didn’t quite make sense, because there were clearly plenty of bees to keep each other toasty on a night that was cold but still above freezing.
BIL checked the hives after we’d left, so we didn’t get to see the inside ourselves. However, what I thought was a pending disaster was actually a good thing of sorts. There was clear evidence of wax moth intrusion into the hive, but the hive was strong enough to destroy all the larvae and clean up the mess. We and BIL have seen how a wax moth can decimate a hive, but this is the first time we have seen what happens when a hive is strong enough to fight back.
All that made me feel better about killing a wax moth with my shoe one day (understand, I don’t even kill spiders or cockroaches — that’s hubby’s job) and I stopped accusing myself of being a butterfly murderer. I will squish any future wax moth that is moving slowly enough for me to not look like a fool hopping around around on one foot waving my clog in the air without good reason!
Back in the city, all but one of our new hives are doing very well. Hubby couldn’t find a queen or any brood in that one hive and there were also considerably fewer bees in there. Of course, this hive has to be in the out-yard that is furthest from our house, but anything that gets us out of the house and away from grading on a Sunday afternoon is a good thing! We appeared to be close to having a queen in the castle last time we looked — it should be warm enough to check this afternoon or tomorrow. If we have one, she may just go for a ride in the country with us.