Well that is how I feel now, I feel like I have been chasing rainbows with my bees this year.
What is more frustrating I finally felt like I have achieved something, I had 3 hives, extracted 7l of honey still left enough for them to get through winter plus the honey and pollen they would have made in the oncoming months before winter, I made plans for next year which hive to make splits out of, it was looking very promising, but it was not to be.
Shortly after extracting we noticed that robbing was proceeding, the entrance was already closed I only left the little openings open in the supers, once I noticed robbing I closed every one except for the bottom one, the middle hive suffered greatly and disastrously.
They stripped it clean, killed the bees and the Queen, I stripped it last week, its getting ready for a proper clean up.
I had high hopes for the other two hives. I was left with the swarm that I caught last year plus the hive that gave me all the grief this year but was well on its way, and I actually did not take any honey from it.
So the robbers even though we have now reduced the little entrance even more, enough for one bee, added a sheet, robbers kept coming, but due to the reduction plus the sheet you really can’t see properly what is happening, yes there was fighting but …. anyway, I honestly don’t think there is much left of it, they cleaned it out, at least they did not rip out the foundations like in the middle hive but they cleaned it pretty well, have not found or seen the Queen but as yet still have not managed to do a thorough inspection.
All our hopes were in the swarmed hive but even that has fallen.
I actually believe that they decided to leg it. After about 2 weeks of robbing, I think that this hive has tried and tried and once it has realized it can not protect it any more it went some place safe.
I was going to treat them against Varroa with the BeeVital I was due to do my second treatment, upon opening the hive there were hardly any bees, did not want to open it unnecessary as there are still robbers about so did what I should have done at the very beginning, took out a feeder, put sugar with a little water in one half , water in the other half of the feeder and closed the hive right up and I will not open it for two days. Today there were some bees but not as many. I know I still have two frames of honey in the swarmed hive left, I do not hold much hope for my bees this year though, as either way, if I don’t have a Queen there is no hope, if I do have a Queen I will put them into one super but? I don’t hold much hope for that to happen.
I am going to have to research when and how to take off supers full of honey without inviting robber bees. Last year I had robbers as well but not to this extend.
It was horrible to pull out the bottom mesh 2cm thick of dead bees.
I will fight on, I am planing to take this opportunity to clean up and sort out the old hives, get them ready for next year, get the word out that I am looking for bee colonies and make it mega strong, the strongest there is. That must be the best way to succeed. I will make armour for them if I have to I will do everything that I can to prevent this from happening again.
The worst is yet to come, it is hard to believe that I have two hives out there one with 3 supers the other with 4 and not long ago they were full of buzzing bees, now I can see straight through the frames all the way from the top to the floor on all 12 frames. So I am going to go through the hive with a tooth comb, looking for the Queen, if she is not there its is going to get stripped, the old frames are going to get cleaned up the frames with brood on them are going to get taken out and burnt, the rest cleaned up properly, disinfected. I don’t want to be spreading disease and problems which I can prevent.