Sunday, January 31, 2016

A wet winter day...

What to do today?...

I fed the bees yesterday.  I feel that's a good thing given its so nasty today and the forecast isn't much better for the week ahead. More as a preventative measure than an emergency "treatment".

I used "Teds Sugar Mush" which is 8 parts granulated sugar to 1 part water - about 12.5% moisture content.  The bees will eat the sugar when it hardens by adding a little water to it. They will not store it in cells.  [My thanks to the Eastern Missouri Beekeepers Association for the recipe - it has stood me in good stead in the past!]

So for those of you who prefer to use measurements (please excuse the use of imperial measures) this might help you;

Mix 4lbs sugar to 1 cup (8oz) water in a small pail, or in a 1gal ziplock bag.  

I also made a couple of shims to go under the inner covers to make sure the feed in the bags could fit in the hive.  

I didn't do an inspection as such but when I popped the covers I found lots of bees in quite a large cluster, maybe over 4 or 5 frames.  My take away from this: they look in really good shape!  It always worries me that there isn't enough food for them either in the hive or to forage at this time of year.  However, I'm usually proved wrong!

So I now think I will need to order a couple of Queens for the spring as I will likely have to split the hives!  Great news as I want to expand and also replace/restock the hive that died out last autumn. 

So now it's a wet day ahead and I'm reading bee magazines!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

At last a warm, dry, day in January!

I managed to find time to visit the hives on Monday.  It was a very mild sunny morning (13C) so I wanted to see what, if any, action was apparent.  I had last been to see them last week when it was much colder and although they were clearly alive there was no activity outside the hives. 

I did not carry out an inspection as really there really wasn't anything I could have done to help them out.  I had no feed or "mush" prepared or with me.  However, it was great to see plenty of flying and cleaning and foraging going on!

It's a curious time of year. I never really know what to expect from the hives but they always surprise me.  I don't know why.  Bees have been over wintering for millions of years and so know a thing or two more than I do.  Still, they appear to be bursting with life, but I still think I may put some 4:1 "mush" on when i get a chance...