Saturday, February 20, 2010

Gotta Go!!!

The weather was in the 40's today, but there was a lot of sun shine, so the hive got a little warmth. I saw a bunch of the girls out and about, but sticking close to the hive. Here's what I saw:

You can't tell too well, but there were a lot of bees in front of the green hive; only a few around the brown hive. You can't tell, but there are a bunch of brown spots in the snow in front of the hives; evidence of "cleansing flights" where the bees do their business outside the hive. If the weather doesn't get warm every once in a while, the bees could get sick (not being able to void their innards).

I also decided to add more sugar; I actually took some pictures first!

Here's what I found on the brown hive, which is the weaker of the two hives:

You can see the bees had eaten up through the mound of sugar. The brown block at the left is a pollen cake - the bees were also eating off of it (which is good, providing protein for the bees). The newspaper and sugar had absorbed a lot of moisture (which came from the bees) and it made a hard cake; this is beneficial since it removes moisture and the bees actually prefer a sugar cake vs. granulated sugar.

To keep the new sugar from just falling down where the bees had eaten away the newspaper in the middle, I put a piece of paper towel right on top of the bees, and then added the sugar. You can see the after picture of the green hive here:

Because this group of bees was larger, you can see that they had chewed a wider swath in the sugar as compared to the brown hive (previous picture). Once again these bees are consuming the pollen patty as well.

I am excited for the warm weather to get here for good. I need to do a little maintenance on the hives, swapping out some bad frames, and getting them all ready for a good year!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Another Good News Check

Did another quick peek into the hives today. Good news! I saw bees eating sugar on both of my hives!!!

The brown hive's cluster was smaller than that of the green hive, but based on what I've seen in the past, the size is consistent.

Still too cold for the bees to do any flying, and it's supposed to snow tonight/tomorrow and be cold the rest of the week. While I was checking, I slipped in 1/2 of a Global Pollen patty, just to give them something besides sugar to munch on.

I suppose next week I'm going to have to add more sugar to the hive...

Stay warm everyone!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Quick Bee Check

(picture from here)

We are deep in the winter, and it's been a couple of weeks since I checked on the bees. The weather hasn't been warm enough to let the bees take any flights, so they've been hunkered down in the hives.
Last month I added the sugar on the hives, and a week later I checked and the sugar was untouched. Tonight I went out to the hives with a flashlight (since it was already dark) and took a quick peek.

At the green hive, I lifted the outer cover and insulating panel. Looking in the hole of the inner cover, I saw a bunch of eyes looking back up at me! There were a bunch of bees consuming the sugar, which is what I want to see! I didn't take a picture, since I didn't want to disturb the hive any more than necessary. They had consumed about 1/3 of the sugar, so I have a ways to go before I have to add more sugar.

On to the brown hive, I was able to lift the inner cover, since I saw very little activity. Here's a picture I took of the sugar:

You'll notice a few bees on top / around. I think these were bees which got separated from the cluster, and made it to the top and then got too cold.

I am still holding out hope for the brown hive - it could surprise me. It would be a very welcome surprise!

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