Thursday, September 12, 2019

Summertime summary

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.

Will I ever learn?  😖🐝

Thursday, May 9, 2019

April 27, 2019 New packages

I picked up the bees on a snowy morning in Rochester and hived them in the 40s with sun back home. Interesting weather pattern, to say the least.

They're doing well, taking sugar water down especially in the south hive. Lots of activity when it warms up, back into a rainy spell now on May 9.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Interesting discovery when I checked the hives

March 2019
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!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

November 20 2018 yep they're dead

Both hives gone - I'm sure it was the loss of warm space with the tornado blowing them over and losing comb from the top 2 boxes of each - where all the honey was.
Ok, on to new packages next spring!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

I'm not sure they're going to make it this winter

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!

Friday, September 28, 2018

Final feeding push

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.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Harvested honey - unplanned

So there were several combs that fell off of their top bars when the hives toppled. I had put them in the top box so the bees could clean up the honey (the empty feeder boxes) but then I took them out and harvested 2 1/2 quarts of honey from about 5 broken pieces of comb.

I refilled the feeders today and am hoping the bees can get enough honey for the winter - but now there are spaces in the boxes where the combs broke off - that's not good. Harder to keep warm in the winter as well as climb from one comb to the other for honey and I don't know if some of the combs are squished against each other and therefore there isn't "bee space" for them to move up and down. But I am not taking the hives apart again. They'll just have to do this on their own.