Sunday, December 29, 2013

Time To Feed?

In late December in Missouri there aren't many days when the temperature rises above 8C let alone into double figures, but when it does you can be sure it will be short lived; you just know temperatures will plummet again very soon.  And so it was yesterday.

We had a balmy clear day with a maximum of 12C. Warm and sunny, and the bees thought so too. I even managed to get out on my bike for some exercise! Anyway, I decided that it was worth feeding the hives I could get to quickly;  the two in my backyard and the one that's just down the street and I made up some of 'Ted's mush' (4lbs sugar to 1 cup of water) and put this on top of the hives using a 1" high rim under the inner cover.

I was encouraged to find quite large clusters in each of the hives. It was so cold here before Christmas that I was worried for them; especially as I lost a hive a couple of weeks ago. Anyway, the bees in all 3 hives were at the tops of their hives under the inner covers (maybe that is too high? I have to worry about something after all) and I popped the mush on in the hope they would break cluster and eat some carbs while it was warm.

Today the temperature is expected to drop to -12C overnight and it may well snow!  Feeding on a warm day might just take the edge off that!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve Myth

There's about 15 minutes till midnight when according to legend bees are supposed to hum psalm 100!

I have ventured out in the past to see if I can hear them, but I have failed, most likely due to the quantity of mince pies and alcohol I have consumed!  

And this year is no different... However I suspect they actually do hum psalm 100,  but I can't hear it as they are not all doing it at the same time!

Happy Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Lost Hive!

I went to the Gardens today (Friday 20) to put some insulated inner covers on the bees only to find that one of the two hives there has died out. 

The hive in question was light in stores going into the winter and it seems pretty clear there was no honey left in the hive. I doubt it was robbed out as its been so cold; no other bees would have been flying it was so cold. There was some pollen in the hive just an absence of honey.

So I now have to decide what to do with the hive. Some of the frames were new in 2010 so maybe it's time they were now rotated out. But do I retain the other newer frames and the pollen they contain? If I do might I be spreading something harmful to another hive; something that might have caused the hive to die?  I need to go some research and ask a few questions. 

With luck the worst thing that will happen is that I use the hive as a home for a split I make from the adjacent (currently heavy and healthy) hive. It's just a shame this has happened; I should have fed them more sugar I suppose!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Snowy Day

It's been snowy here today; probably the first real snow of the season. It's been cold too! -14C last week.

I managed to get out and put some "pink board" insulated inner covers on 5 of my hives today. I saw bees in all but one hive. I'm not sure if that's entirely good as it means the clusters are at the top of the hive. But what can you do?  

Well, I'll make up some of Ted's sugar mush and a few shims for the hives and put some emergency feed on as soon as I can!

Can you make out the location of the cluster in the photo below? I think heat from the bees is melting the snow. Hopefuly the "pink board" will trap more of that heat in the hive!

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Wow it’s cold! Last night it was -14C (or 7F if you prefer) and I wonder how the girls are doing!  It’s been a week or more since it was warm enough for them to venture out on cleansing flights and cleaning up the hive.

There is a circle of melted snow on top of each of the hives in my back yard which I take as a good sign. Maybe heat from the cluster is melting the ice above? Equally though, this also means the bees must be burning through their supplies of honey! So I may try to pop one of my insulated inner covers on top of the hive this weekend just to try and trap some of the heat they are generating and I think I will prepare some sugar mush for the hives so I can give them some emergency food.

The weather forecast isn't looking that great either.  I think we can expect another week of cold temperatures. Fingers crossed…