The End of the Phoenix Hive

Last week I blogged about seeing the Phoenix hive down to less than two frames of bees and still no brood from the queen.

Shortly after publishing the post my friend over at Simply Resourceful suggested newspaper combining the remaining bees with another colony.

That was my goal today: to newspaper combine the hive with the Blue/Purple hive that was thriving. At least that was my plan until I opened the Phoenix hive up and saw this:

Small Cluster Of Bees

Yup- what was two frames of bees last week, was now less than 20 bees and a very sorry looking queen.

I saw one (and sometimes two) bees standing on or walking over the top of the queen as if she wasn't even there. 

I looked closely at the remaining bees and almost half of them had mites on them. Even though I did powder sugar dusting regularly last season to combat mites, I'm convinced the mites is what ultimately brought this hive to being so weak. 

I pinched the queen and then decided not to even combine them with the remaining hive. In the big picture, 20 bees isn't even "a drop in the bucket" and they were loaded with mites as well.

I shook them out and took the boxes and frames to the house to clean up and store.

One Hive

The remaining hive is the Blue/Purple hive, and they seem to be in good health and will make it through the rest of the winter just fine.

I think the Phoenix hive was cursed. Seriously. The history of the Phoenix hive is long and paints a grim picture.

I'm going to give it a fresh coat of paint, and a new name.

Any ideas for a new color/name?

Comments For This Post: (3) | Post Your Comments! Hide The Comment Form
Nick Holmes says...
Date:   February 20, 2013, 3:44 am

 I had to reply, because I like naming hives. People thought it was silly, but I wanted to do something better than 'hive 1', and wanted something I could  use as a pattern so as to have hives that described what the collony was like. I had a competition and ended up naming them after Muppets. I had the intent of painting them appropriately but I haven't got round to that yet. I think naming the hives says a lot about you, and I don't know you at all well, so I'm not sure I could come up with something appropriate without a clue or two.

all the best


Holly says...
Date:   February 28, 2013, 1:07 pm

Do you have any plans for the hive that contained large volumes of mites?  Is there anything you can do as a beekeeper to get rid of the spores so they don't infect the next colony you put in there? 

Chris (Show Me The Honey) says...
Date:   February 28, 2013, 1:29 pm

Good Question Holly!

This hive dwindled from varroa mites. Varroa need host bees to survive, and since the frames are in cold storage (frozen), they won't be alive when I pull the equipment out to reuse it.

Trachea mites are a different story. I didn't see symptoms of trachea mites, so I'm thinking the frames are ok to reuse. I honestly don't know what should be done to eradicate trachea mite spores in stored combs of a colony that had trachea mites. If someone else reading the comments knows, please chime in!

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