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Showing posts from January, 2013

January Thaw

Record temperatures this morning, in the low fifties.  After a rare thunderstorm passed through, I went out to do a quick check on the bees in our remaining hive.  There were bees flying, which is a good sign.  I did use smoke, since the other day when I did a quick peek, just lifting the lid, one little bee quickly sacrificed herself on my glove, so I thought I'd better be more cautious.

Opening the lid, I saw the patty I had on top of the inner cover wasn't really touched yet.  Lifting one side of the hive, it felt pretty heavy, much heavier than the other hive when I discovered it was dead.  I removed the inner cover, which was covered with bees, and placed two patties directly on top of the frames.  Since I dumped some bees down in front of the hive off that cover, I set a frame with some honey on it for them to climb back up to the hive, hopefully getting a little treat on the way. 

 The bees looked good, and there were large numbers of them, which is promising.  

Unfort…

Sad Day

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I knew it had to happen sooner or later.  I'd just as soon it be later.  Make that never. 

Taking a tip from Rusty, who has a wonderful website that she regularly updates with terrific, relevant info about beekeeping, I hiked out on this balmy, 39 degree January day to take a peek at the hives.  Approaching hive #2, which is the first I came to, I noticed right away a number of bees in the snow, spread out in all directions from the entrance, for about 20 feet.  This is pretty typical--the bees take off on cleansing flights when the weather permits, and some simply get too chilled to make it back to the hive.  The first winter, this drove me crazy as I tried to help individual bees make it back to the landing strip on the hive only to watch them fall over and die.  It's what happens.  I knocked gently on the side of the hive and even through the pink insulation I could hear a solid hum.
Walking over to hive #1, I saw right away there were no dead bees in the snow in front of t…