Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bad news in Sutton...

Bad news for the Sutton hives - both are dead.

When I visited them last month, only one hive was dead. I put sugar candy on the live hive, with hopes that they would make it through the winter.

This was the sight when I arrived to check the hive today:

You can see the bees had eaten the center of the bee candy, and there was plenty left. But the clue to the bees demise is all the brown spots you see - that's a sign of Nosema.

So the Sutton hives are no more. I need to contact the owner to see what he wants to do - if he wants bees next year, we'll have to get a package or two of bees.

So the current count is:
  • Sutton Hive 1 - dead (Nosema)
  • Sutton Hive 2 - dead (starvation)
  • Green Hive - dead (starvation)
  • Pink Hive - living
  • Brown Hive - living


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mid-winter Checkup

I just noticed it's been a month since I put up a Bee Blog post. Like I have mentioned before, the winter time is when you do as little as possible to the hive (how would you like it if in the dead of winter a giant hand came and lifted off the roof of your house, letting out the hot air??).

With the recent snowstorms, the snow has built up under the hive stands, and it looks like the hives are sitting on the snow. Here are some shots from Feb. 8 when we had a very wet snowstorm, and the snow stuck to the tree limbs. Very pretty, but very non-fun to shovel!!

Remember, there's about a 2-foot tall hive stand those hives are on, so you can see how deep the snow is! Other than the snow, the weather was not windy at all, and I am confident the bees were snug in their hives.

I actually did a quick check of the backyard hives on Jan. 29. I wanted to see how the bees were taking to the sugar candy I put a couple of weeks earlier. At that check, the brown hive had bees all over the bee candy, which is a good thing. The candy provides energy for the hive, since they have run out of honey. On the pink hive, there was just a bee or two on the candy. This tells me that either the hive is weak, or that the bees were still lower in the hive and had honey to eat, and they didn't have to be at the top looking for food. The green hive was still deader than a doornail...

We've had a couple of extremely warm days (relatively speaking), around 50 degF which allowed the bees to fly. One of those days was Valentine's Day, and my wife took some pictures of the hives. You can tell that there are bees outside on the hives, but not much else:

She also said that the bees in the brown hive were clearing out dead bodies, which is a good thing for a hive to do. I did see a lot of dead bees in the snow in front of the hive too (some of those may have been flyers who got too cold and didn't make it back to the hive).

Today was another 50+ day, so I took the opportunity in the late afternoon to check how they were doing with their candy. I wore my bee suit coat and veil this time, as I learned last time it isn't too cold for a worker to fly up in your face and sting your head!

The brown hive had a whole lot of bees between the top of the bars and the inner cover. That is where the bee candy was. They had eaten a lot of the candy, but not all of it. It looked to be a good healthy number of bees, so I put on another disc of bee candy, and also put on a pollen patty to help feed any brood the bees may be raising. The bees pretty much covered all of the top of the bars in the hive.

The pink hive had the same appearance, with a lot of bees covering the top bars. I guess they finally ate their way to the top. It looked to be the same strength as the brown hive, so that is a good thing. Again, I put on another disc and a pollen patty.

Green hive - still dead (hey, I can hope!!). Tracy said she saw a bee or two checking out the green hive, but they were just visitors.

So it looks like this spring I'm going to try to re-populate the green hive with a split from one of the other hives.

I put bee candy on the Sutton Hives at the same time last month that I did the backyard hives. Seeing that there is still candy left in the backyard hives, I can make a trip over to Sutton this weekend or so to feed that hive.

I am getting really excited for Spring to come, so I can get these hives going!
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