The novice beekeeper had a good feeling about performing the check on her hive. The week before had brought in the first of many crisp days, but today the afternoon sun had increased the temperature to 70 degrees and there was no wind. It was the beginning of fall and she was headed out in her beekeeper suit to see if the bees had begun preparations for the upcoming cooler weather. This excursion to the hive, however, was not to be a pleasant one, not at all.

Approaching the hive from behind, she removed the top cover and noticed that the population seemed smaller than her check a few weeks ago. As she looked toward the front of the hive — where the bees enter and exit — her heart sunk. There were dead bees scattered around the front entrance. The excitement of successfully getting her first colony of bees through a season of activity had vanished and in its place was a cold, hard lump of failure. What had she done wrong?

Katrina Warnick is a Penn State Master Gardener from Adams County. Penn State Extension of Adams County is located at 670 Old Harrisburg Road, Suite 204, Gettysburg, phone 334-6271.


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