Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Hungry Bees?

Spring is really slow coming on, again.  You know it's bad when you get excited about a day that will reach 60F almost a week in advance.  Today was one of those days and tomorrow 1 to 3 inches of snow is predicted to fall.  So, I took advantage of the weather to open the hives and add some more feed to the bees.
My plan was to open the hives, remove a frame and add an inline feeder filled with 1:1 sugar solution.  Also, I had left a frame of drone comb (the green one) that needed to get out of there.  I use them during the active season for varroa mite management but that is a whole other blog entry.  A pollen replacement patty was to be added, too.
This hive is already to go:  feeder in on the right and the patty is laying on the top of the bars.  Look at all those bees!  I guess they survived the winter.
Both hives were treated to a new inner cover also.  I feel good at the amount of bees in each hive and hope to make "splits" off both hives so we can go into the main nectar flow with four hives.

This is my third spring with my bees and I am still learning.  One thing I'm second guessing myself on is whether or not the bees even need my help this spring.  When I removed a frame from each hive, it was pretty obvious that there is still honey in the hives.  Should I have let them deplete their honey supply more instead of feeding them?  Not quite sure I am doing what is best for them but then I look at the weather for the next week and we only have rain, snow and highs in the 40Fs to look forward to.  Their only food would be what's in the hive since there would be no foraging in that kind of weather.

Keeping my fingers crossed that I did the right thing.  Hopefully we will have another "warm" day to open the hives and see how much brood the queens are producing.  Stay tuned!


  1. I keep watching these posts thinking how much I would love to have fresh honey but then I look again and think. Lord, look at all those bees! I think I need a book on beekeeping before I try anything. I would love a list of what to get so that I could get things slowly.

    1. Hi Becky,
      Yes, it is a lot of bees but you do get used to in time. I started with what is called a "package" 10,000 workers plus a queen. A healthy grows to about 60,000 going into late fall.
      What you could do is contact a local beekeeping club and take a class with them to get some "hands on" to see if you like being around the bees. they are so amazing, I think you'll end up liking them.
      Check out: http://www.mannlakeltd.com/ and look at the complete hive kits to get an idea of what you need to buy to get started. Also, "Beekeeping for Dummies" is a GREAT book to read that's easy to understand, it's my favorite.

  2. I admire people like you that keep bees. It must be hard work at times, but very rewarding.

    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and leaving such a lovely comment. I am going to visit your gallery now -- you are so talented! Have a wonderful week!

    1. Thanks Nancy, I love your blog :)
      Yes, check out my paintings and I'll keep adding more.
      I need to do some beekeeping paintings, too.