Saturday, February 9, 2013

Getting ready for Spring

We had planned on taking a quick look at our honeybees but knew that if the weather allowed we wanted to provide them a little extra food.  We are focusing on raising survivor bees so we don't want to spoil them.

As you can see in the picture above it was a nice day and the temperatures were actually above 60°.  We had fed all of our hives sugar fondant to help them through the winter but to avoid such detrimental issues as moisture dripping onto the cluster and hive beetle hiding places with a normal hive top feeder.  The hives that were surviving had consumed ALL of the fondant.  The hives that died had fondant left.

Yep dead bees don't eat. 

We took all of the sugar fondant we had prepared and spread it out on all of the remaining live hives.  We started the winter with 6 but have lost 2.  So for us 3rd grade math students, we have 4 hives left.

Who is making it?  The two hives that died were Russian bees.  We bought one hive (second year for this hive) and the other was the result of a swarm from the first/mother hive. (2012)  We took NO honey from either hive but fed them little as well.  Both hives were is some of the more exposed areas of the property so they may have gotten colder.  So far this season we have touched the 20's but not colder.

The four remaining hives include our original 2010 Aleph and Gimmel.  One hive is a Minnesota hygienic we bought from Carl Chesick & Stuart Van Meter of the Center for Honeybee Research in the Hendersonville, NC area.  We split Gimmel last year creating Hey (using Hebrew letters for our hives) and that hive is surving so far as well.  The last survivor is also from Carl Chesick & Stuart Van Meter of the Center for Honeybee Research  and we have them in a Warre` hive.

When we looked at the dead hives, it was interesting to observe not ONE small cluster but a number of them in each hive.  Little honey so I am guessing they may have starved out.  Does this make me a bad beekeeper.  Perhaps.  It is interesting to note that we applied the same methods to our other 4 surviving hives.

WINTER IS STILL NOT OVER.

We inserted mediums boxes on the bottom of our 3 Langstroth hives (nadiring instead of supering).  We have done nothing so far to  our Warre` hive but may do a split in March/April.

Well that's about all of the news that is news from Plan Bee.

Bee Boy out.

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