I apologize for the time warp, but there's so much more time to post during the winter, when I'm not actually handling the bees. Aug 2013: I thought all of our bees would be dead by now. What with no viable queen laying since May, they should be. Granted, we picked up some homeless bees during the Black Forest fire, but that was in June. It's been at least two months, during which there has been no worker brood. What the hell is going on? I'll tell you one thing, being a beekeeper isn't boring. I'm sure it will be keeping me on my toes 40 years from now.
After the last hive check, where we removed the second deep box due to the drop in population, we assumed it would only be a matter of weeks before it was completely empty. There was no sign of Queen Catherine, the Carniolan queen I tried to introduce in July. Then I get a message from Dick saying that there were still bees flying into the hive.
Sarah, Jason and I drove out and suited up to check for ourselves. This is what we discovered:
Pile of earth beneath where the hive used to be.
A gopher (or something, not ants) had built a little hill of earth beneath the hive. And there were still bees left! We knew it wasn't viable, so we made the decision to walk about 100 ft away from the hive, shake off the bees, and load the bee-free equipment in my car. We packed it all up and left nothing but a pile of dirt with lonely bees flying around it. I had a few stowaways in my car, but none of them bothered me on the drive home. I unloaded the equipment and stored it away for the winter, with plans to start again next spring.