Thursday, March 13, 2014

Casualties of Winter

I don't have to tell any of you...
This was the HARDEST winter ever...
of my life...

Now, we've had winters with more snow.
We've had winters just as cold.
But we have never had a winter with this much snow and ice and this much cold,
that just didn't relent for this many months.

I have felt it.
You have felt it.
The animals have felt it.

Sadly, I have just come to find out...
the bees felt it too...
that is, until they no longer felt it at all.

It is so disappointing and disheartening to see that our one last hive...

(the one that gifted us with so much honey last year)
perished during the frigid winter weather.

Cody, our beekeeper since Hubbs had an anaphylactic reaction to a bee sting,
checked our hive on a warm afternoon this week.
Opening the hive, he found sufficient honey stores,
but no living bees.
There were lots of bees there....but they were all dead.

Such is the tenuous life of beekeeping.
We did all that we could to keep our bees going through the winter...
insulating hives with burlap and tar paper...
and leaving adequate honey stores for their consumption...
but to no avail.

The cold winds were too great a stress on the little ladies.

I have ordered several packages of bees with queens that we will install in our hives
in the beginning of May.
The leftover honey stores 
(many pounds of honey were still left behind in this hive)
 will be used to feed the new bees.

I refuse to give up.
I refuse to let Old Man Winter triumph over us.
We will keep trying...
and trying...
and trying.


  1. I'm sure your beekeeper did this, but may I ask if he did a mite count in the fall? We have found that tracheal mites can cause a perfectly healthy hive to die off. While I am positive the cruel, cold conditions did not help the little ladies one bit, you did protect them well from it. Just curious, from one keeper of bees to another.

  2. Oh Bev! Yes, Old Man Winter has been so hard, for so many. I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your precious bees. We accept that loss is a natural part of life, and we don't have to like it. A very smart woman told me that years ago. I hang on to those words. I know you will just keep moving forward, in gratitude. Keep calm and carry on! From Karla, in Coal City, IL.

  3. that is so sad. another blog i follow lost all of hers too. she said they had plenty of honey and were alive a month ago. she opened the hive about 5 days ago and they were all dead.

  4. Not a happy finding at all . . . sad news.

  5. Oh no! I love bees and when I move to the country I am going to attempt to keep them, they are so important to our food supply! We have 100 beekeepers in the Tidewater, Virginia area where I live! Good luck with the new colonies! Terri C

  6. I'm sorry. This *has* been a difficult winter, and these bees are one more loss to overcome. I'm glad you are going to try again.


  7. That is sad with all the work you have gone through. Sometimes Mother nature prevails. I'm sure the hives will be buzzing again soon. Oh there is nothing better then your own honey. Yum, Yum!

  8. Sorry to read this! We inherited a hive when we bought our new house. I am so scared to go out and check the bees. Lots of other hives around us have perished as well.

  9. Makes me sad to read this, but I think it's great that you're going to try again. The bees are so important to all of us!

    It's been a crazy winter though; we lost two animals this year, and that's even with them staying out the worst days in a heated barn.

  10. I am have taken so much care to keep this last one going. The winter has done so much damage. Once the snow leaves we will see just how much more it has done that we don't know about. We had another massive storm yesterday..ugh!! -28C to include wind chill today..brrrrr. Keep warm!!!

  11. Nature at times can be harsh, but there you are full of hope with a new batch of bees, always best not to dwell on what happened you did what you could...

    But this winter really is too much it was 18 this morning, with winds to take your head off, bitter is the word. Thank heaven I don't have to take my dog out she has been trained to go on pipi pads !!!

    Annie v.

  12. Cici at The Kitchen's Garden blogspot lost all of her bees, too. She has a Russian queen and bees coming in may. She was very disappointed, as well.

    Marcia in CO

  13. Oh sorry about your hive..It was a cold winter for sure..Guess we can be thankful that there wasn't a ton of snow..What we had just won't go away..Good luck with the new hive..

  14. So sorry to hear about your bees!! I would like to learn more on the honey making process. .. Maybe when you get your new bees you can walk us through though the process?
    We got about 1 1/2 feet of snow since last night. looks like its letting up but the winds are supposed to really pick up. I don't think I will see my flower garden until....I don't know when :( Take Care

  15. Oh so sorry to hear about the bees.
    It surely has been a winter to remember.

  16. Old Man Winter has certainly been a mean, mean dude this year. Sorry about the bees :-(

  17. Oh, my how sad....winter can just be so mean! I am glad to hear you are not giving up! I was about to give up on my chickens but decided to give it one more try....6 new chicks. Don't let old man winter get you down!

  18. Sorry to hear about the bees not making it through the winter! It has been a harsh long winter here as well one that we haven't seen in over twenty years , lots of snow ans frigid temps 20 and 40 below days in a row . Time for old man winter to get lost ! Thanks for sharing . Have a good day !

  19. So many of the blogs I read have had hives that made it through the worst of winter, only to died in the past few weeks. I think it may be the cumulative affects of this harsh winter cold. Hopefully, the hive is the last of the damage the winter of 2014 will be around to do. I hope you do not see a winter like this for many years and that the new hive will be healthy for many years & bring you lots of honey. It stinks that this happened after you did your best to protect the hive, but there were things beyond your control that ultimately determined their fate.

  20. Oh No! I am so sorry to read about your bees... I lost all of my bees last spring, and started again this past spring. Chin Up! Only six (6!!!) days until spring! And Easter is around the corner! Happy Friday!


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