Monday, September 6, 2010

Feeding time...

As we start getting toward fall, it's time to think about feeding the bees for the winter. You need to make sure they have enough food stored in the hive to make it through the winter.

For feeding sugar syrup, all I have is quart jars. I end up refilling them a lot, which is a pain. I heard from another bee buddy about these feeder pails which hold 2 gallons. That would be great, so I went looking for something local so I don't have to pay shipping. I found at Lowes a 5 quart plastic paint bucket with a lid, so I bought some of them to try it out. Not quite 2 gallons, but better than 1 qt.! I made up some sugar syrup and drilled some small holes in the lid and I'm going to give them a go. Here's what I ended up with:

The blue ovals on the lids are where I drilled the holes (I like to mark with a marker where the holes are to make it easier to line up the holes on the hive).

Did a quick inspection to day of the home hives as well. In general I saw a lot of pollen coming in, so hopefully with this sugar syrup, the queens will do well.

Green Hive

The hive made quick progress at removing the newspaper between the supers. When I opened up the 2 supers, there was no sign that there ever was newspaper, except for the part outside the hive! The bees were nice and calm (except for 1 or 2 who always make a nuisance out of themselves every time I inspect this hive!).

Didn't see any new eggs or brood, but I didn't do a lot of looking. I suppose the queen was still getting used to the new digs, especially since I severely rearranged the frames when I combined the hive. I'm going to give them a couple more weeks and then check.

Pink Hive

This hive still has the shallow honey super on it, and last inspection it wasn't hardly used. I planned on putting the sugar syrup over the super, and letting them fill the honey super with sugar syrup (to be eaten over the winter). Well, I took a look at the honey super and believe it or not, there was quite a bit of nectar in it! I decided not to add sugar to this hive yet, to see what they might do with any incoming nectar. Worse comes to worse, I'll add 2:1 later and they will finish off the super. But if I am lucky, maybe I'll get some honey. Hey, a guy can hope, can't he?!?

I found the queen in the middle super, along with some good brood patterns. I can't resist taking a picture of the queen when I find her:

So I did not add any sugar to this hive at this time.

Brown Hive

Didn't look too deep in this hive. Saw some brood, but no queen. But I am not worried with this hive. I closed up the hive, and right before I was going to put on the feeder pail, I saw a line-up of bees scenting. I t was cute, so I took a picture:

It's a little hard to tell from the picture, but those bees are all in a line with their tails in the air, beating their wings.

By next week the bees should have taken in all of that sugar syrup. Next week I plan on adding a pollen patty to each hive (since I have some left over and need to use them this year). I still need to go to Sutton to check those hives - maybe next week.

Finally, it's been a while since I posted a video. Here's one of the bees outside the hive today in the early afternoon.

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