The Lambs find TonTon and Sad Bee News.

TonTon is afraid.  He is very afraid. There is a Minty looking at his blue ball.  And he is hoping he will not be commanded to share.  Sharing toys is nice Ton.  

The terror of having to share!  Maybe with all three of the lambies! 

Poor Ton, being picked on by those iddy biddy wee lambs. This might be another postcard pic.

Cats in a curve.  Mary’s cat always looks slightly bad tempered doesn’t he.

Water play. Hosing out the pigsty has already turned into a game of who can get the wettest!

I discovered something very unsettling yesterday afternoon.  An entire hive, my biggest strongest hive, is now almost completely empty of bees. The very few that are left in the bottom of the hive, are in a heap, sluggish and dying. There is no evidence of moth or disease. The hive smells sweet and is full of honey and brood, with room at the top to grow.  I looked at them on Monday and they were heaving with bees coming and going really well.  Is this CCD? The bees just gone for no reason. They have not swarmed, because  even when they swarm, the nurse bees stay with the brood. It is never left to die like this.

The fields have not been worked around our house yet, so we cannot blame spray.  The adjacent hives are just as vigorous as ever. 

I have read some articles on this but never thought this would happen to my bees. What a terrible blow.  I need to have a think about this and work out what to do next.

However up we get.  We will do some research and work out what to do with a hive full of honey and no bees.  I can think about that on the run. Today is Retirement Home day. The Old Codger calls it Dog Medicine Day.  Today we take the basket of chickens (who are growing feathers and not really looking their best) and Minty and TonTon to the Old Folks Home for an official visit. Signs have gone up around the home inviting any one who is interested.

I have bought Ton a few new softer toys for retrieving.  So he can play  with the old folks, without balls bouncing all over the place.  The camera battery is charging and the slide show is finished. I am going to set up stations around the hall, so the ladies and gentlemen can move from the Lamb to the Chickens to the Dog Play to the Slideshow of Farm Life taken from the blog photos.  They can  pause where they want to be the longest.  We do not have very many animals to take today but it is a beginning.

Good morning! I hope to have some photos of today – for you tomorrow, which I will post before I jump in the car, that will take me to the bus, that will take me on the two hour journey to the airport, to catch two planes across to  California to cook a family dinner.   I will show you how my Mum made pavlova!

Have a great day.  We will have an unusually busy day.  But there will be lots of smiles today!

It is after dawn and I can hear Kupa honking out there! What a peacock!


74 Comments on “The Lambs find TonTon and Sad Bee News.

  1. When do you ever rest? I’m so sorry about your bees. I hope you can salvage something from the disaster.
    Those folk at the retirement home must adore your visits.
    Have a great time in California.

  2. Hi Celi. I was going to say what a fun post after seeing your fabulous photos. Especially love the piggy one but then I read about the bees. Oh no! Hope you find out what the problem is soon.
    Fingers crossed.
    Regards Florence x

    • Evidently some of the best bee people in the world are flummoxed by this syndrome.. it is not good at all.. c

  3. Good morning! I’m so sorry to hear about the bees.
    You are such a good person to take your ‘pets’ to the nursing home to give those wonderful old people a jog of their memories……I’m sure it’ll be a happy day for them. And I think TonTon is being a very patient, good boy with the curious lambies!

    • Not much to do now, but try and feed the ones that are left, I will look in there again on monday when i get back .. .. c

  4. I agree with the others on the pig shot. What a gem. So sorry to hear about the bees and I hope you determine soon the reason for their demise. Those old folks are going to love you even more than they already do. What a treasure you are, C.

  5. I’m sorry about your bees. I was hoping it was the pesticides that made them abandon hives. I hope in your case, it’s just that they moved the queen someone else nearby. Um, the TonTon shots confused me. Who is the shepherd, and who is the sheep?

    • That sounds like a robsenaale rate, but it is going to depend on the availability of other food sources if it warms up and the bees can bring in lots of nectar they will probably consume less syrup if it stays cool and rainy the syrup will be their only available food source and they will use it faster. If the queen is able to lay a lot of eggs they will use a lot of food feeding the brood. Anyway, don’t worry too much about it if they use it fast or slow. Just keep feeding until they have drawn out enough comb to establish a good sized brood nest and maybe even then depending on the weather and the availability of other food. You don’t want them to starve at any time.However, syrup can grow mold, ferment and generally get nasty if it is on the hive too long this could be an issue if you are using a hive top feeder that holds a lot of syrup. An upside down (over the hole in the inner cover) quart jar with some holes in the lid is a good cheap way of feeding smaller amts of syrup and it gives you a good excuse to check on your hive every day. I staple hardware cloth (like the kind the package bee cage was made of) over the inner cover hole so that I can feed like that without disturbing the bees at all.

  6. Ton Ton has the same look that the wee cousins get when one wants to play with the other’s Most Favored Thing…
    Sorry about the bees – that’s hard. If you want a smile – and have a spare second – check out my post this morning…there are soap bubbles involved. 😀

  7. Have a good day today, C! I’m sure TonTon will have a grand time.
    Sorry to hear about the bees, it is rare for them to abandon ‘ship’ like that… try not to worry about it too much on your trip!

  8. I learned a lot here today, Celi, and wish I hadn’t. I mistakenly thought that CCD was a fungus-related problem. I know better now. So sorry to read that you’ve lost a hive. What a blow!
    You could easily publish a picture book of the farmy through Tonton’s eyes. With one look, he told us how he felt about the lambs.
    Have a safe trip, Celi, and a wonderful visit with your family. 🙂

  9. Been away for a couple of days so have enjoyed the big ‘catch-up’ with your farmy goings-on! I’m so sorry about your bees, that is such a blow. I hope you love your trip although I do understand about the problem of trying to write a list of chores when they’re automatic to the Chore Mistress. I’ve just had the same problem writing one for my dad and I have far fewer beasties than you!

  10. So sorry to hear about the bees! Hopefully your other hives will stay put and you can figure out how to stop it from happening again. TonTon is so funny, I bet he and the babies will be good friends and playmates in not time!

    Enjoy your trip, can’t wait to see your Pavlova recipe! ~ April

  11. I have been waiting for a little snout just a kiss away from the lens – this one is much more fun 🙂 %*&#?%@!!! about the bees, so sorry. Laura

  12. So sad and scary about the bees. How do you do it all, C? You are amazing. Thanks for sharing your life with us.

  13. Good morning, Celi. How distressing to find your largest hive in such dire condition and how frustrating not to know the cause. We hear a lot about Colony Collapse Disorder here because California produces so much food. Can’t wait for the report on how the old codgers do with the animals.

  14. The picture of Ton with the lambies is a postcard for sure! Too funny!

    I am so sorry to hear about the bees. I hope you get the hive up and running soon!

  15. Global Warming, deforestation and increased electro-magnetic fields, why does Man think he is so clever? We will probably manage to look surprised when the whole lots explodes on us. Have there been no further developments/solutions for the bees since 2007 Celi? Laura

  16. Oh, you are coming to California! Happy and safe travels. That is indeed unsettling about your bees. Good luck.

  17. The bee dilemma is bad; I can see how disappointing this would be. I hope you find an answer. On a brighter note, I did enjoy your animal photos and captions immensely!

  18. I thought dogs liked sharing balls and toys as part of some strange dog game – tug of war…
    I hope you solve the bee problem – I’m sorry to hear about the empty hive 😦

  19. Oh I do hope we welcome you with some nice warm weather this weekend, Celi. Are you coming to Northern or Southern California? Here in the Los Angeles area we have some warm weather blowing in–and travel time to think about your bees! What concern! I hope you finished all your lists yesterday and things will be in good working order while you travel. I will be thinking of you cooking your family dinner…what a lovely time! Debra

  20. Poor TonTon – unwelcomed siblings. The German will collect al her toys on her bed and sit on top of them if she feels threatened with sharing. (and put on a totally innocent face like “where did all the toys go?”)
    Sorry worried about your bees. My nephew in CA has a few hives. No one seems to know what is causing the die off. At first they thought the bee keepers moving hives around were having problems because of all the traveling – but some hives never move. Now they are worried something the bees encounter in air or plants causes them to forget how to get home to their hives. Horrid mystery. Hope someone finds out something soon.
    On a cheerier note. Dog Medicine day sounds delightful! (Therapy animal visits are much more complicated here due to all the regulations…which discourage so many people.)

  21. Both East and West Sussex have terrible problems with bees dying. University of Brighton says it’s climate change related fungi, and they suspect that new breeds from warmer climates will start arriving in next few years.

  22. What a shame about that hive and how weird. Poor TonTon being afraid of those big bad lambkins. Have a lovely day at the retirement home. 🙂

  23. Oh! This is one of my biggest fears! I only keep one hive, just for the sake of the bees, and I take a bit of honey once a year to make more room for them because they are in a top bar hive. Have you contacted the local bee keeps to confer with them?
    ~ Lynda
    PS: TonTon reminds me of my Buddy. He does not like to share either. 😉

  24. i know I should be sad that the bees are in trouble, but the overwhelming feeling reading your post is that of almost unbearable cuteness!

    I LOVE the photos of Ton Ton, very protective of his toy – his eyes are just shock full of expression… gotta love that boy!

    wonderful photos….

  25. hi celi! i had a bee keeper tell me that a bacterial fungus was killing his bees. but that would seem to take longer than what happened here. if they are gone, is there a chance they will come back?

  26. I am so sorry to hear about the bees. I read the article that you linked to with great interest. Our bees were aggressively attacked by hornets and fled the hives, so I know how ghostly and sad it is to lift the lid of a hive and find… Nothing.

  27. Good morning my friend, I am sorry to hear about the bees 😦 -I hope you can discover the problem soon!
    On a more positive note though, I’m glad your wee lambs are teaching Ton how to share 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

  28. Hi Celi. Do pass on any information that you find about the bees. Too weird! We will be getting ours next week, and are so hoping all will go well with them, as we are definitely beginning beekeepers.

  29. Oh.. how those seniors must adore seeing your animals.. chicken feathers and all (they do go through a funny stage, don’t they?) I was sad to read your bee dilemma.. I think this must happen everywhere and it’s a sign that our earth is on the change, I think. Or can bees become “inbred”.. is there such a thing, just curious.. love your city-slicker smidge xoxo

  30. I’m sure you are a bright spot at the center with your animals, and they’ll love the pictures as much as we do. Have a great trip!

  31. What a shock to find your hive empty! What is CCD? There is so much activity going on at present, quite a spring rhythm. Lucky Rest Home people to have you bringing such life in for them. It will be quite a rest for you to be off travelling.

    • I’m trying a comment using my blog address. Don’t know if it will work, but let’s try anyway.

      • Yea! It worked. If you click on my name, it will take you to my blog. Thanks for letting me know about the problem, and do visit!

  32. I think it is so wonderful, not to mention creative, what you’re doing at the retirement home. I can just imagine the amount of smiles and happiness you’re going to generate tomorrow. 🙂 It makes me smile just thinking about it.

  33. You really are taking thr rough with the smooth Celi, and I can only commend you on your grace and positive attitute. I am really sorry about your bees. Like everyone else, though, I can’t wait to see the Dog Medicine Chronicles!

  34. Oh, Celi, this is very hard to bear. I’m so sorry. Plus, you are a being a microcosm of the bee world in this respect. That’s disconcerting – especially when the experts haven’t yet been able to discern the problem. Does that mean it’s a new problem? It would be easier to swallow knowing it was Nature culling its own rather than something we are doing to the essential little beings.

    By now, you are probably on your way home from the DM Day – hope it was a smashing success – except for windows!

    Have a great time away. Hope you are able to be totally there. I gave myself that gift with my family and it’s been glorious.

  35. That’s terrible to hear about your bees. And, unresolved as you don’t know what caused it. Hope it’s something easy to fix.

  36. How awful about your bees Celi. Is the remaining brood worker, not just drone? Just wondering if the queen could have become a drone layer and the population fizzled out. But then you said they were heaving a few days ago.

    Sometimes I have heard of hives absconding due to high levels of varroa. They either go to another hive or set up somewhere new. We think this has happened in our apiary once, when one beekeeper found all his bees had gone and another found his colony had suddenly got a lot bigger. Perhaps you could try uncapping some of the brood left behind with an uncapping fork to see if it contains many mites.

    • I did uncap and found it quite clean, but i will go back in and have a look with mites in mind. I examined a few of the dead bees and did not see any other the little black spots. I shall check the other hives though for an increase in bees.. this was a big colony, 4 supers high. I did see more drones than normal wandering about after the loss.

      What do I do with the hive though. Do I dismantle it and destroy it in case of disease. It seems such a terrible waste of honey.


      • Try uncapping some of the drone brood, the mites prefer that. Your peacock will probably enjoy eating it afterwards.

        Don’t give the honey to your other bees just in case. Burn up the brood frames but the hive boxes can be kept, flame them lightly with a blowtorch.

        • The honey is probably ok for you to eat, I would think? You said it smelled nice and there’s been no spraying near you. As you say, it would be a shame to lose four supers worth.

  37. Such a shame about the bees. Can´t claim to know much about it though 😦 Love what you are doing with the old folk, bet they count they days till you come over to visit!

  38. I am sorry to hear of the bees. It must be distressing to see them dying and know that there is nothing you can do.
    I see your teacher hat is well and truly on with retirement home planning. It often comes in handy doesn’t it?

  39. I’m wondering what your weather did around then. Could it have warmed up and the cluster broke and then cooled off to quickly for them to re-cluster? Spring can be tough on bees. If everything looks clean, I’d stick it all in the freezer and be ready to pick up a swarm later. Hopefully robbers haven’t cleaned you out.

    • This is a very good point, it did get very cold again around about then. Thankfully the other hives are doing OK, and they are smaller too…The freezing idea is a good one, I had not thought of that. I shall do that. I was at a loss as to what to do about the two supers of honey. I guess new bees will clean out the brood themselves. Any bugs will be killed by the freezer.. c

  40. LOVE the lamb pics. And how weird about your bees – that is a blow for sure. I hope that this trend in the world today of bees dying will soon be figured out and stopped. We need our bees!

  41. Mary’s cat looking eyes amazing… how serious and seems in bad temper… Beautiful photograph, so beautiful… Thanks and Love, nia

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