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Archive for December, 2009

I have to say this has to be one of the most challenging times of the year for me as a beekeeper. I spent the spring, summer, and fall caring for my hives — feeding my bees, treating them for pests like Small Hive Beetles and Varroa — and now I just have to sit and wait to see if they over-winter well. I estimated that by the time things got really cold each hive had about 100 lbs of honey stored away in the hive bodies and the super.

My wife went back to the compost pile and then came in telling me that there were dead bees on the ground (actually in the snow — we got about 21″ of it this past weekend). I wasn’t sure what to think. I know the bees throw out the drones in the fall in preparation for winter but I wanted to see what she meant exactly. Well — yes there were dead bees in front of the hives in the snow. And I picked up one of them and it was a worker — not a drone. That made me worried. So I opened up one of the hives and took off the hive top feeder and listened carefully. Deep in the hive I could hear the buzzing. I was very relieved. Also, looking at the top super I could see that there was a ton of capped honey in the cells. And, two bees came flying out to see who was messing with the hive. I immediately closed everything up (and took the hive top feeder with me back inside to clean up) and walked away. The sun shines most of the day on the hives which, in my mind, is good as it keeps my little girls warm (hopefully). Tonight is going to be the coldest yet for the year — a low of 18 — and it doesn’t look like it’s going to warm up any for quite a while. So I have to sit inside and worry.

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