Today the temperatures were in the low 50's, and the weather is projected to be warm for the next week or so. I decided it was time to start feeding some sugar syrup to stimulate the bees to start to reproduce, and last night I cooked up a batch of 1:1 syrup (with 10 lbs. of sugar). I haven't built any top feeders yet, so I filled up some quart mason jars, with lids with small holes in them. This was the same way I have always fed.
I started out at the Sutton hives, to check up on them. The last time I checked, they were doing well. Today was no different. I was extremely pleased to see the bees bringing in pollen! That is the first I've seen that, although some of my local bee buddies have been reporting pollen for a week or so.
The hives looked good, with lots of bees on the top bars:
Here's where I added the two jars of sugar syrup. Not too exciting, but the bees like it.
I always put the jars to the side, not directly over the inner cover hole. That way, if I have a jar leak, it won't rain down on the bees.
I ended up putting the shim on the top side of the inner cover (it used to be below the inner cover, to leave room for the sugar patties). Then I put a medium box over the jars, just to protect them and keep the bees out.
I am glad these hives made it through the winter. Last winter I lost both hives. So hopefully they will start makin' babies and build up in strength..
Then I did the same for my backyard hives. I saw pollen being brought in the brown hive, but not yet in the green hive (I guess the brown hive was being stingy with that information!).
Here's the Green hive - lots of bees, like I like:
The Brown hive was also looking good:
Both got jars of syrup, and empty boxes over it.
Then I thought to take a look at the Pink hive again. It still had no traffic to speak of.
Here's what I saw when I popped up the inner cover:
This definitely looks like a small winter cluster. It continues to confound me. I didn't feel like taking it apart to look for the queen - I'll do that on another warmer day. But I did give it some sugar syrup too, just to see what it'll do. Who knows - maybe the queen is still in there!
On all the hives (even Sutton) I also took off the mouse guard, and put an entrance reducer on the medium setting. Some people don't bother with entrance reducers in the spring, but I figure with the reduced population of bees, they can defend a smaller entrance easier.
So here are the backyard hives (I didn't have another medium for the pink hive, so it got a larger box).