Spring, glorious Spring!
Bees upon flowers, warm weather after refreshing rains.
A distinct decrease of activity from my top-bar hive over just a week ago.
So, I suit up and crack it open to find:
My queen (with the yellow dot upper, right) has not been laying eggs, or disease or pests have prevented any brood from developing. Workers only last so long, and there are no new ones that will emerge to replace those who will soon die.
At any rate, this is a dead hive walking. If the nights were only a little cooler, they would already be dead now: their numbers are insufficient to maintain warmth.
As it is, the 100 or so remaining workers will die while foraging, or from exhaustion from attending to their weak queen.
I harvested the 4 good frames and got 6lb of honey. I rendered wax from the 4 bad frames that the wax moths had already got into.
I reckon in another week or so, it'll all be over and I'll be rendering the wax from the last 6 unused brood frames.
I'm now on the waiting list for a 3lb "package" of new queen+workers - I didn't anticipate this happening and didn't pre-order early enough. So I may have an empty hive the rest of the year.
And (maybe) thus ends my 4 year beekeeping experiment.