Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Record Losses

This year is shaping up to be a record year of bee loss in this region. Many beekeepers have lost significant numbers of hives this winter and large numbers just in the last month. It may not be just here in New England either. Every spring, beekeepers in the US participate in a survey of hive loss and I am set to add my numbers April 1.

I am happy to report that our bees are doing fine. Both hives looked excellent yesterday. I am a bit concerned about the amount of poop on the outside of one of the hives. That this the brown splotches you see in the picture above. I am going to seek advice on some essential oils to feed them to help them deal with some gut parasites that might be bothering them.

They were also bringing in pollen. In the picture above you can see yellow pollen and that is probably from some early willows and skunk cabbage. The honey comb is what I supplemented them with - honey that was stored in the hive we combined. The white in the lower left is a sugar patty. Getting nervous after hearing about starving bees, I panicked and added sugar just in case. This is like going to the drive thru - it will keep you going for a short time, but lacks nutrients. So as soon as night time temps get a bit warmer, I will start feeding them some honey.

One thing that really made me happy was the temperament of both hives. They were calm and didn't bother much with me. I did veil because bees in the chill air can be unpredictable, but they were both really calm and focus. That is a good sign that the queens are in good condition and brood rearing is going well.

Go bees!

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