Saturday, November 28, 2009

More Please...

On Thanksgiving I whipped up a batch of sugar water for the bees thinking that they might take a bit more before wrapping up for the season. I love it when my bees remind me that books will only take me so far and that experience is really the best teacher. There are many beekeeping books that will tell you that bees stop taking honey and sugar water around Halloween and my girls haven't read a single one of them.

Not only has each and every hive sucked dry the jars of sugar water set out for them they also inhailed the warm honey I put out. It was pretty crystalized here in the house and I expexted it would do the same in the hive so I warmed it on the stove until it was smooth and liquid again.

The bees were great - only Pink's girls were flying but the other hives were still quite active. None of my hives have clustered yet.

Bees don't hibernate, migrate or sleep for the winter, they cluster. Essentially bees cuddle to stay warm and keep the queen happy. She is kept fed and warm in the center of a big hug all winter. Once they cluster up, they stop taking sugar water, honey or even spend much time outside the hive.

It is great that the girls are taking on as much honey as possible. When it does get cold, and it will, they will be in a better position to use their stored food and start next year off with lots of bees.

The smell from just cracking the top covers off was amazing. I am slowly weaning myself off smoke as it really disturbs the communication of the bees. I am also learning more about how the hive smells at different times.

Happy Thanksgiving to Pink, Sum, and Joy!

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