February 26 – Catching Up!
It has been way to0 long since I have been in here with you. My apologies and I have no real excuse beyond not making this a priority. That being said, I have shifted my priorities and hope to be back here weekly as we add to our knowledge and share our love for our bees.
This past Sunday I checked all 8 of my hives and found that thus far I had only lost one hive at my Alexis Apirary. I have another hive at my home that appears to be queenless and has greatly reduced in number. I plan to combine them with another hive. This give me 6 strong hives going into this new year of beekeeping. I also worked the hives of several of my students including Erin and the Blacks. Erin has lost one hive while all three of the Black’s hive have survived the winter. Additionally Leigh has a very strong hive at her residence.
This past December I made the effort to place enriched fondant on all of my hives and I believe this increased my survivability. I added fondant again to all the hives I checked Sunday and as I expected, winter stores of honey were really down in most of these hives. Feeding our hives during the winter appears to be an essential ingredient to success. Last year I lost all but one hive. My problem proved not to be mites or other pests (treated for this) rather they had starved to death even though stores of honey were in the super above them. They had eaten the honey around them in the lower box, but failed to make the move up to their ample stores above them. Lesson learned, so this year enriched fondant was placed right above my bees in every box.
During my inspection yesterday I found all our bees were very busy laying eggs and creating new bees, including drones, for the coming year. A good bit of pollen was also being carried into the hives. I left all of our hives buttoned up as cold weather is approaching again over the next week. My fear is they will cover their brood and not protect themselves. I just hope it does not get too cold. I also cleaned out a good bit of burr cone and rotated my boxes.
I sold the remainder of my honey at Catawba Coffee during the last two weeks. I was amazed at how fast it was gobbled up!
Bottom line folks, if you have not checked your bees yet, you are way overdue. This is the period of time where our bees can starve from lack of food that is easily assessable. CHECK YOUR HIVES. Don’t forget that in addition to reading this blog you can respond with comments and questions.