Friday, January 15, 2010

Feeding time at the hives

This is the time of year when the queen will start laying eggs to make more workers for the spring. The bees raise the temp from around 60 to 93 degrees.

Most beekeepers feed their bees sugar or pollen patties. I had three sugar patties left from last year, so I thought perfect - I have three hives why not use them. I went out wearing my regular orange coat and orange gloves - what a beautiful day!
I didn't exactly rip open the hives, I cracked the inner covers open about two inches and slipped a disk of bee candy in. The bee candy is sugar and corn syrup cooked and cooled in a pie plate until it forms a rather hard disk. One disk had cracked in to about 10 pieces, but they are all usable.

I checked on Pink's hive first and found a few girls out and about.
I slipped the sugary disk in and found part of their pollen patty from Oct still there. The girls should eat that soon.
Sun's hive was pretty much the same but there are way fewer bees. They had not consumed any of their pollen. I am most concerned about these bees and will keep a close on them.
Then I went to Joy's hive. WOW. I could hear them buzzing the moment I touched the outer lid of the hive. I made the mistake of trying to slip the broken patty into their hive. They were all up in arms and one tried to get in my hair.
Have I mentioned I HATE bees in my hair.
I closed the lid best I could and made a beeline to the shed to get a veil. Sheesh. So with veil on and hive tool in hand, I re-cracked open the hive lid and maneuvered the sugar pieces so that the lid would close properly. The sugar bits were COVERED with bees and there were a handful of girls still flying around.
If Sun's hive doesn't make it - and I hope they do! - I will manipulate things so that one of Joy's daughters becomes the new queen in that hive.
I love being a beekeeper.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cold snap

With the very cold weather, I am especially comforted by the extra insulation on the hives. Now I wish I knew if the bees felt the same way!

Although other beekeepers I know had a 50' day recently allowing their bees to get out and pee, we haven't gotten over 45'. The girls must be crossing their legs!

I do know right now that there are live bees in each hive. All three hives have dead bees on the door step. Bees will throw out any dead bees - so either these bees were tossed out or they flew out and got stuck. Either way, it is a good sign albeit a sad one.

Send some warm thoughts to the bees and keep your fingers crossed that they are warm and toasty in their blue homes.