Tuesday, April 2, 2013
It was a Bee Day
The near and long term forecast has slowly climbing temperatures from now on for over a week. Hitting the 70's by this weekend and then supposedly staying close to that next week as well. We will see I guess but at least it is finally warm enough I think to start feeding straight syrup into the hives with boardman feeders. A top feeder would add too much moisture right now but it shouldn't get down to freezing long enough to effect a boardman full of syrup. Or so I hope.
So I mixed up some syrup and started going through the dead hives and removing the comb that had dead bees in it from the frames. I used many of the really old frames that are too blackened and thick for putting into new hives as bait frames for my swarm traps.
I got the first five swarm traps placed and baited today as I made my rounds. The healthiest hive I have remaining is over at the North Apiary so I placed two swarm boxes in their normal spot there and then put an entrance feeder on the strongest hive. I then watched the other hive I have up there that I was afraid had died out. After a very long time I noticed a solitary bee come out of the hive. It really wasn't warm enough for the bees to be out but the North and West Apiaries are pretty sheltered so they did have foragers coming and going however the other hive had zero activity to speak of. I finally decided to see what was going on. Either the hive was dead or it was starving and although it really wasn't warm enough to open it up I had to know. If I opened it and there are some bees left they might die but if I don't open they might die anyway if there are some.
I popped the top and could see a small clump of bees still alive on the very top super. The rest of the hive below them was filled with thousands of dead bees. All that remains of this once mighty hive is about a cup full of bees clinging to the last bits of stores left. I didn't even bother to see if they still have a queen I removed the chambers of dead bees leaving this hive with one small super and gave them some syrup. Who knows if the queen is still alive they might make it but I will be surprised if they do.
The West Apiary has one hive remaining and there was some entrance activity so I fed them as well then hurried over to check on the new hive of survivor bees. They were up in a totally windswept open field and there was zero activity but I could hear them inside and actually see some through the entrance hole. I guess the wind put them below the average flight temperature so I figured it was a good time to move them.
So the Garden Apiary once again has bees in it. We will see if they survived my taking their hive apart and moving them. From the sound of things they are split between two supers but seem to have pretty good numbers and they did have some honey in the burr comb I removed.
I don't suspect to get any swarm activity for at least a month or more but I went ahead and placed some traps anyway. It still isn't very warm but at least it was warm enough to start working on Spring bee keeping once again.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!