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Archive for October, 2009

Bee Update

It’s the first chance I’ve had in about two weeks to feed and look into the hives. Overall things look good. The hives sound strong and appear to be doing well. I’m feeding them 2:1 sugar syrup in order to get them to store as much food as possible for the coming winter. What I’m not sure about is when to stop feeding them. They’re still making it up to the hive top feeders (the temperature during the day still reaches 65 degrees Fahrenheit) so I figure I should continue to feed them. I do plan to put in an order for some fondant in order to supplement their feeding. I’m starting to get nervous and worry about them as the weather is definitely getting colder.

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I’ve been feeding my bees a 2:1 sugar syrup mixture to get their stores of honey up in preparation for the winter. At this point I believe that both hives have somewhere around 90 – 120 lbs of honey in the hives which should be more than sufficient for the coming winter. The last thing I want to have happen to my girls is for them to starve. I just saw a hive today that died because of starvation (and it’s not even winter yet!). We went out to Larriland Farms today to pick apples and to get some other things and they have an observation hive in their barn. The hive looked really good earlier this year but when I saw it today all of the bees were at the bottom — dead. I could see that there was no honey stored in any of the cells and there were bees with their heads down in the cells also dead. It was a very sad sight 😦 .

I asked the checkout person about it and she said that she was told that the bees died because of the cold this week. It didn’t make sense to me as bees in that kind of hive would be able to manage their temperature better than those in a Langstroth since they’re so compacted. But the lack of honey in any of the cells indicates that the most likely cause of the hive’s demise was starvation. It made me very worried about MY girls.

When I came home I whipped up a batch of 2:1 syrup, added a teaspoon of HoneyBHealthy, and went out to refill the hive top feeders as well as remove the 1/4 inch spacer between the hives that I had placed in order to treat them with ApiGuard. Unfortunately I was only able to get one hive done due to time constraints — the other one I’ll do tomorrow. When I opened the hive to remove the space (which is situated between the two deeps) the bees became VERY agitated and immediately stung me three times on my left hand. On top of that they flew at my veil continuously. Unfortunately I had to remove a bit of burr comb in order to put the hive back together. I also took out the queen excluder from between the deeps and the one shallow super that I’m leaving on top of the hives and I put in an entrance reducer.

Overall the weight of the hive components makes me think that I’m looking at about 90 – 120 lbs of honey in each hive total. I just hope that it remains completely accessible to them throughout the winter.

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