Wednesday, October 8, 2014
OOOPS I did it again Feeding Frenzy Pt. II
According to the forecast we have another cold front moving in tonight dropping the temperatures down to highs only in the 50's and rain for the next four days or so.
Since my Fall honey pull was interrupted last week by a cold and rain front I didn't get to pull the second surplus super off the main garden hive. That would be the one on the left of the picture with the light blue box on top. I also have three hives in my West apiary I didn't get to pull but I have decided to just leave it for the girls at this point.
Generally speaking I don't keep hives close to the house. I know many people do but I have found that the larger a hive gets the meaner it gets and the longer it's collective memory continues after you have messed with it. At one point I had six full grown and producing hives in the Garden Apiary and I paid the price. One of their main flight paths went right over the garden and for a few days after I would mess with the hives they would fly search and destroy missions around the garden trying to sting me. I got tired of weeding and tilling while wearing a screen so I decided to move all but one hive out to one of my other locations and then use the garden pretty much exclusively for those hives I am nursing along, new splits or generally small hives that need to be fed. This way they are all right here where I can check em daily without driving a ways and small enough they don't chase me all around the yard or wait at the door for me to come out after I pissed em off.
Trouble is by late Fall they are generally getting up there in numbers and very defensive on top of that just due to Winter coming soon.
So today I decided I really didn't need to worry about harvesting that last super of honey because it isn't really worth the mess and cleanup but I am not leaving two supers on them for Winter either. The three smaller hives you see in the picture all have supers on top but they are there only to close in the feeders I use. These new hives have not built up enough to get a second brood chamber yet and have limited stores so I decided to just distribute the capped honey from the large hive into the three smaller ones. I also had 20 wet frames of uncapped comb left from the harvest last week. Just the number I needed.
By the time I was finished and left the tubs out for the girls to clean the left over honey out of I had another feeding frenzy on my hands. Each one of these small hives now has three frames of capped honey and seven frames of open cell comb with a lot of residual honey left inside along with some pollen and such. This should go a long way to insuring they survive Winter.
I still think a large percentage of over Winter hive deaths has more to do with greed than anything else. Bees are designed to consume honey. They can survive on sugar syrup for a spell if the weather is nice but when the Winter winds blow they need honey to keep themselves warm.
Anyway another step is now finished towards Winter preps. Next I need to put the dry feeder boxes on a few hives and begin wrapping them with insulation.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!