This WAS our surviving beehive, about a year and a half old. When I got to the farm and walked over to check on the ladies, this is what I was met with.
...not a pretty sight. Those are dead bees. And liquid running out. Gross. It was all I could do not to just start pulling parts off without wearing the bee suit. There were a few bees buzzing around and they weren't happy, that's for sure.
Here is the backside...
The whole area smelled of fermented honey. Have you ever had "mead"? It smelled like that. I checked the liquid (by touch and smell only) and it was mostly honey but much like water. I guess honey is close to 20% water and exposing it to the heat of the sun turned it more into a liquid.
Of course I hoped that perhaps there was a way to save it so I immediately got the bee suit on and took the top off. I'll spare you that picture, suffice to say it was some live bees, maggots and ruined comb. No way to know if the queen was even still alive...it was pretty much a disaster inside. The entire upper portion had broken and leaked and flooded everything three levels below.
It's a pretty startling setback...and yes, I felt like a failure. I do believe I may bear responsibility as I had not yet harvested honey and the hive just may have gotten too full. The bees have to have room to be able to cool their hive and I didn't give them that. The hive also sits in full sun and we've had heat index temps of over 110 degrees many days. I've read that most of the time that doesn't matter, but there are reports of hive comb melting in other states, perhaps it was just the right combination of everything.
It's a mess for sure. I'm not even sure how many of the hive parts are salvageable. Maybe it just has some bad vibes and it's time for new if we do it again. Which of course bring us to the big question...
Do we do this next Spring?
Do we "try, try again" as the saying goes?
Relocate to a semi-shaded area?
If we do opt in again do we have two hives or one?
Or do we just chalk it up to lesson learned and move on to something else?
We haven't quite decided yet...it's too soon to just jump right back in and make that decision, we have time to think about it. There is other stuff to focus on, not to mention take a break with a majority of outside working for the rest of the month (and a Fall garden to start planning).
We order the bees in the Fall for pickup early next Spring. That seems like a long way off but about six months from now is February and we'll be getting ready for Spring planting again!
RIP Ariadne and your hive, sorry for not doing our best!