This is a pricey hobby. $3,152.63 has been spent on beekeeping supplies since 2014, and we’ve only made about $220 selling honey.
The summer of 2016 began with 4 strong hives. By November there were 3 weak hives, and now spring of 2017 we are starting off with 1 hive which seems to be doing okay. So 75% of the bees didn’t make it, which sadly, is typical.
I know what killed them. The strongest hive took off, or absconded, in the fall because it failed to produce a new queen after its July swarm. The second strongest hive died from starvation- a brief change in temperature over the winter got them to be more active, and they didn’t have the energy to crawl 5 centimeters up to their stored honey once the cold returned. The weakest hive died because of their strength in numbers. They produced no supplemental honey last year, so this was no surprise.
This beekeeping season begins with a goal in mind. We want to begin overwintering nucs and attempt queen rearing so that we can end the cycle of having to buy new queens each year.
Interesting fact: Colony Collapse Disorder was NOT the cause for any of our hives, ever, to die.