adventures in beekeeping: sad news! one hive dies

It’s been a while since we’ve written about the bees. When we last updated you, we had taken just a tiny bit of honey from one of the hives. At that time we were a little worried that one of the three seemed to have no honey at all. It was as if those bees had gotten really lazy and just stopped working. We had to remove its the upper layer because it was empty, and hoped they would just hunker down and survive the winter. Well, sadly, they didn’t even make it through Thanksgiving. We found a bunch of dead bees near the door to the hive, and sure enough, a peek inside confirmed our fears. The bees were all dead, starved. In this picture, you can see their sad fate. Their dove in deep, trying to get the last bit of honey they had made, and all their little butts are sticking out. We have a theory on why this hive didn’t survive and the others seem to be okay. It has to do with the way the hive was constructed — this one was more “free form” while the others are ready-made to go. You’d think the bees would be prefer the au natural hive route, but apparently not.

We probably won’t have another update until spring, as the other two hives will be left one alone to do their thing. Fingers crossed, they’ll survive a few cold months! Wish us luck! — Angela M.

From our partners

I am very sad to hear about your bees. I have always wanted to try keeping bees, but have never been in a places that I could.

Good luck to you and your bees this winter season!

Oh no, that’s terrible! I’m sorry to hear this.

Tiffany S.

That is an amazing photo until you realize how sad it is.

Soooo sorry!


I think that is the first time I have ever been sad about a bee dying. Poor things.


poor bees, i guess i’ll have to start at least 4 new hives in the spring.

I’m totally obsessed with bees and have often pondered somehow having a hive (I live in a totally urban area, but still…). Sorry to hear about the die-off…but I must say, as sad as it is, that is a VERY beautiful photograph.

Mary T

Agree that the photo is amazing. Sorry to hear about your bee buddies though. : ( I really like bee butts (except when they’re stuck in my person); they look so cute crawling into snapdragons.

You’ve just made me really sad about BEES :(

That’s really sad, and frightening too in the context of the colony collapse disorder that’s been going on globally. Thank you for keeping bees! The planet needs them desperately.

When I was a teenager I was hosted by a Swedish family that had a farm as well as bees – bees that had the run of the forest for collecting pollen. I never knew that honey could taste like a *place* but it really does. Such a treat!


Oh no! : ( Poor bees. Wholphin #5 had a piece about drunk bees, I wonder if yours were having a bit too much fun?


sherri – you should totally start a hive on your rooftop:-)

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I’m sad that your bees didn’t make it. Some suggestions would be to provide the bees with honey for the winter, until they grow stronger next year, and putting tarp paper around the hive for insulation.

I was wondering if your seasonal allergies were helped by the honey at all. I’ve been buying honey at our local farmer’s market and I’m curious if you had results. Terribly sorry about the bees that didn’t make it. Very happy though that the other bees were doing well.



I live in Wisconsin and think this would be kind of fun to do. I like growing little civilizations, like my snail farm, and guppy farm, but this looked like a lot of fun. Loved the pic with all their butts sticking out, too bad they were dead.

Do you think it possible to keep bees in Wisconsin?

Jeff Herrmann