At first it’s hard to think of a positive side of losing 55% (or more) of your hives. It means lost sales of nucs, queens, expense and time buying packages and/or making splits and possibly a reduced honey crop because split hives aren’t as strong as they should be when the flow starts.
But there is a positive side. In good years every scrap of equipment I have is on hives, unless it’s in such bad condition that even the bees won’t touch it (and that takes quite a bit). This year, all the damaged, old dirty or mouse eaten frames from all the deadouts were piled up for recycling or burning. Over the past week as I did an inspection of all my hives, I also pulled any (unused) junk frames from the live hives as well. Most were positioned on the outside of the hive bodies so in most cases they weren’t really used yet.
The wax melter was first filled with frames, but with litterally 100’s of frames to process it would take all summer, with only a little bit of wax in these old frames. So the rest went into the burn barrel. Sort of a sad sight, but I’m sure the bees will be happier and healthier without all those old dirty frames harboring an untold number of AFB spores and other contamination.
The other upside is that I’ll have more time and can focus more on queen breeding rather than queen rearing. The first batch of queen cells destined for instrumental insemination have just been placed in queenless hives and next week we’ll be inseminating them.