Saturday, January 11, 2014
Winters First Casualty
I just wanted to use this picture of the hawk in the snow I wish I hadn't gotten the over Wintering bag worm hanging off that little tree with it though.
Anyway the sun finally came out and pushed the temps into the lower 50's a slight bit although the wind was still cold. The bees were flying some but only about six hives appeared to be really coming out and showing a lot of activity. Three other hives had a few bees coming and going while two hives had zero activity that I observed.
Finally even though I didn't have my suit with me I couldn't stand the not knowing so I popped the top and was greeted with a dead out. You could see where the girls had even eaten a large part of the sugar feed I had for them but I suspect they simply did not have the numbers to keep warm.
Salem colony was the last small swarm I had captured back in late August in a very small trap that I hadn't bothered to collect up yet because I thought swarming season was well over. It was never very large nor did it have the time to build up before Winter like it should have but it kept trying so I didn't stop feeding it.
Jamestown, my oldest colony, was also not showing any outside activity and this one really concerned me because it is an actual producing hive and kicked out the honey well last year. I very carefully opened the top and saw BEES!!!! A pretty fair amount of them hitting the sugar so that hive at least joins the still alive group.
This leaves me with 8 hives I am sure are still doing well so far and 2 hives I am unclear about yet because they only showed slight activity and I didn't open their tops to take a peek.
It really wasn't warm enough for them to be out yet but I suspect it was more a matter of need than comfort at this point. A few of the hives definitely suffered some heavy casualties as their entrances were clogged with dead bees the workers were removing.
I split another overflowing truckload of firewood and cleaned the furnace out completely then went and checked the ground. I doubt there is any way I am going to get back to my felled trees to cut anymore wood for at least another few days. The top few inches of the ground is like chocolate pudding with a hard pan under it. Slick and gushy.
The good news is I seem to have gotten the drip stopped on my plumbing repairs and things are almost completely back to normal once again.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!