Sunday, September 13, 2009
Friday and Saturday were dank and rainy - not a lot of chance for the bees to be out (although I did see the bees flying Saturday afternoon when it was just a light rain). I tried to swap syrup feeders on the hives yesterday evening (still raining a little), and received a sting on my right arm for my efforts (not good weather to open up the hive without smoke!).
The bees were very active today - this morning, from the bathroom window in the house, I could actually hear the buzzing. I suspect that after the bees have been cooped up in the hive due to rain, they go out in numbers.
I noticed last inspection that there were a couple of frames in the lower body of the brown hive which hadn't been drawn out much - I suspect the bees canibalized the wax earlier in the season and then didn't have a wax foundation to build on as a result. I had a couple of frames I saved from the failed nuc I made, so I put them in place of the insufficiently drawn out frames.
I didn't want to dig through the hives much today. The bees hadn't consumed the entire pollen patty I put on a couple weeks ago, and it's a gooey mess, laying across the top frames. It looked like there was still about 1/3 of it left, even after 2 weeks. I see lots of pollen being brought in by the bees (the goldenrod is in bloom), so they probably prefer the real stuff to the substitute. I'll wait another week to inspect frame by frame.
Since I like to include a picture in each of my blog posts, I thought I'd show what the syrup feeder looks like that I use. In the picture above is an empty plastic peanut butter jar with a few tiny holes drilled in the lid. I fill it with 2:1 sugar:water solution (this time of year it needs to be thick) and put it upside down on a couple of sticks which are over the top inner cover's hole. The bees drink the syrup, which stays in the jar due to air pressure. Then I put an empty honey super over it and then the outer cover. There are many types of feeders you can buy, but this is a low tech solution that works for me.
On September 19th is the next Worcester County Beekeper Association meeting (the last outdoor meeting of the year). It will focus on Fall preparations of the hive. I have a Scouting activity with my son that morning; if it gets over with early enough I'm going to try and make it.
Note to self: don't leave a jar on the back deck that has sugar syrup still in it. I hadn't gathered up all my tools, and when I went back, there were about a half dozen bees flying around it and landing on it. I had to suit up again to go grab it, and took it into the house (after shaking off the bees). With two active hives, I see a lot more bees flying around my back deck - it would be nice if I were able to locate my hives farther away from the house. But life goes on!