An update on the hives:
This is the time of year when beekeepers need to start preparing, or at least stat thinking about preparing their hives for winter. I'm sad to say that things aren't looking too good for Hive B. It seems that the bees have been rapidly dying off for an unknown reason. We still have a queen, but it would be easy for diseases and pests to take over the hive because of the low population. On the other hand, things are looking great for Hive A! They have a healthy laying queen, and what seems like almost twice as many bees as they did just a couple months ago. We've been feeding Hive A sugar water, to increase their stores before the cold weather starts. We tried to feed Hive B, but it seems that there are not enough bees to drink the sugar water and perform all of the other daily tasks.
When we opened up Hive A, we found about two dozen bees in between the inner cover and outer cover. We noticed that their proboscises, (tongues), were sticking out. A sure sign of pesticide poisoning. After doing some research, I learned that the bees sometimes use the inner cover as a faster way to clean out the hive of dead bees, rather then dragging them all the way out the front of the hive.
An update on my Gold Award project:
I have visited three more classrooms in the neighborhood, bringing real beekeeping tools, a slide-show presentation, and even live bees. The students love listening to the bees buzz in the observation frame! The next step will be to put a Pollinators lesson plan into the school system, and continue with classroom visits.
Above: Beautiful frame of capped brood from Hive A.
Above: Dead bees on inner cover.