I have filled the feeders a couple of times, it's still warm and they're bearding.
The NW hive has 4 boxes, since we put the one back on and the SW hive has just 3.
There is a pile of comb near the hives, I figured it was far enough away that it would not encourage robbing.
Here's today's photo and video:
I took the feeders off around June 9.
Then I left the hives all summer until now............
So two days ago, September 10, Tuesday, it was glorious outside but I knew it was going to get rainy and cool and I needed to get my feeders on for the fall.
So what better time than now to remove a box off each hive for the winter? Mark and I did that without a sting but Duchess got nailed by bees.
Well, there probably was a better time.
There is only comb being built in the bottom boxes and I didn't want to take top boxes full of honey - because then I would have to process it (I have plenty in the pantry) and I want them to go into winter with a full hive of honey to see if their overwintering success will be better.
This is an experiment!
So the SW hive had a lot of bees in the bottom box but by 9/11 they were all back in the main hive - I hope.
The NW hive was FULL of bees and even by this morning, 9/12 in the dark, in the rain (after torrential rains 24 hours ago) the bees were still bearding on the front of the hive and were still in the box sitting next to the hive (the bottom box).
So, armed with a smoker, Mark and I went down there again, in the dark and misty cool rain and put the bottom box back on. I got one sting through my jeans but I can tolerate lower extremity stings much better than upper extremity so, there you go.
I'll check them tonight - it's just getting dark earlier and I get home too late for sunshine. It's supposed to be warm and sunny again this weekend so I'll check them then.
Note to self - wait to take off bottom boxes until the hive has naturally decreased in size by killing drones and when it is definitely going to be cold and autumnal.
Last I reported, both hives were dead and I assumed that when I opened them that both would be full of dead bees. Well just one was full of dead bees and the other was empty. So I surmise that the hive failed in the one that toppled and they swarmed in the other after that one toppled. But who knows? I have them ready for my new packages though - so here's hoping this is a better year!
Well, my newly packaged hive looks like there are hardly any bees in there. I'm so sad because they were doing great before they toppled over in the tornado.
The overwintered hive seems to have more activity but again, not like I would like to see it this time of year. We'll see how they fare come February to March!
Sept 28 2018
I refilled the feeders one last time - the issue with filling/feeding 2:1 sugar:water combination is that the sugar precipitates in the dependent position thus crystallizing and plugging the feeder holes. Hopefully, they can still get syrup with their proboscises.
Next week, we'll remove the feeders and the lower boxes and hope winter treats my little ladies well.