After a wonderful week angling in Canada, I went home to the tipi. Before I'd left, I'd been doing hive inspections, on my honeybees, twice a week. They were all quite literally busy as a bee: building new honeycomb and collecting gobs of honey, nectar, and pollen.
Upon returning home (I had been gone nearly two weeks) what I found in my hive was devastating. One of the honeycombs at the front of the hive had been torqued, knocked off center. Thus, the four proceeding honeycombs were constructed with a matching angle. This slant was sharp enough that as it dominoed through the other combs, nearly half of the last comb attached to another top bar (laments terms: this was really bad!). In the end, I had to remove all four combs. I probably could have saved at least half of them, but I was inexperienced. It was my first major hive surgery, and I was sloppy.
It's a bit hard to express quite how sad I was at a) taking my bees honey before their first winter and even more so b) what I mess I made going about it. I accidentally killed hundreds of them in the process.
Trying to repent for my sins against the hive, I returned the sections of comb that contained brood to them. I didn't know if the larvae had survived, but I figured that I ought to at least try. In a sick twist of fate and a huge learning lesson, leaving unused honeycomb at the back of a beehive is the last thing you want to do. Why? Hive beetles. These fother muckers.
|Hive beetles are so sneaky, they can even get between the most parsimonious man and his penny.|