Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Feed Me!!!

Well, the bees in hive #2 are certainly gobbling up the sugar syrup.  I started a week ago and they are well into their second full coffee can of 2:1 sugar water.  Hopefully, this will help them fill up the frames in the top hive body and they will be set for winter.  With this brief stint of warmer weather, the bees have been very active.  Today I noticed lots of orange pollen being brought into the hives.  Still many things in bloom, from our red raspberries to the goldenrod, sunflowers, and many flowering plants in the prairie.  I reversed my decision for hive #1 and replaced the super, though did not bother with the queen excluder since the bees will get any honey they put in there.  I was afraid, as active as they have been, that they will put too much honey lower in the hive and not leave enough room for brood.
On another note, Kathy ran into one of our former "colleagues" from our bee class last year.  He came up to her in the grocery store and asked "Did you harvest any?"  She told him we had gotten one super's worth of honey, which amounted to about 2 gallons.  He sadly responded he had not gotten any honey yet, though he started with two hives and we only had one.  This spring he started several others, and of course will not harvest from them.  He did have a swarm, which he was able to capture.  He seemed pretty down, unsure as to why his bees are not producing.  After some thought, I began to wonder if he just does not have enough good forage area for the bees.  They live within two miles of our place, but we have some forest but also large pasture areas, prairie areas, and farmland within sight.  His place is basically on a peninsula, with a reservoir on three sides.  The land around him is all residential or forest.  Bees would have to go 2 miles through forest or across the expanse of water to get to any other type of forage area. Is there enough for them to forage in an area mostly wooded, with maples, elms, oaks and walnuts the predominate trees in the area?  I plan to go on the Bee Source site to see if any there have some answers.  He may just have a bad location.  I'll let you know what I find out.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Started feeding

I began a 2:1 sugar water feeding today with hive #2.  I planned to replace empty, undrawn frames with frames from the extraction, which have fully drawn comb, but in only a few days they have begun to draw out comb on most frames in the top hive body and have filled some with honey, so I ended up only replacing two frames.  They've been busy!  I think the supplemental feed will help, though.  I have no concerns about hive #1, which has great winter stores in place.
We plan to go to the East Central Beekeeper Association meeting tomorrow night.  Should be interesting.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

First fall check--ready for winter?

We've been pretty busy, plus the weather has been now rainy, now windy, and so on, so I've put off an inspection for awhile.  We needed to remove the box of frames we had extracted from hive #2, where I had put to have the bees clean them off.  I debated putting them there, but thought the hive was strong enough to fend off any robbing.  I didn't see any fighting, so I hope the decision was a good one. Also, we wanted to determine how well they are prepared with food for the winter.
Hive #2, the newer hive, did nothing with the super we put on, so we pulled that off.  They only have honey in about two other frames.  The older hive has a very heavy, full 3rd box so it should be in great shape.  We did take two frames partially filled out with honey from the super on that hive and put them in the newer hive.  I'll start feeding in a week or so, only the new hive. I meant to put the frames they had cleaned out in the top super to replace frames that were not drawn out and I didn't do that, so may do that tomorrow or the next day.
As far as brood, it looked kind of spotty at first but then we found several frames really full of capped brood, so she has been busy and doing well.  I have noticed more bees doing orientation flights near the hive lately, so I felt things were looking good in that regard.
And that's about it for now.  Bees were good, and very busy flying to and from the hive.  They like a warm, dry day like this.