Thursday, January 22, 2009

Pleasantly surprised!

well here it is january 22, 2009! my first beekeeping post of the year. after the sub zero temperatures of the last few i just was expecting the pink hive to have froze out. bees cluster for warmth during the winter, it is how they manage to survive. well those of you who followed my previous posts will know i had water issues with the pink hive and lost alot of bees then so figured there would be too few of them to make a cluster big enough to survive our unusually brutal temps we recently experienced. well after i was finished babysitting two of my grandchildren today,( i had drug little two year old colin out around 2:30 and he watched me raise the plastic, take the landing board reducers out and pull out just thousands of dead bees from all three hives), i raced outside when i got home to peak in the inner covers and see if i saw signs of life. (at 2:30 the yellow hive was the only one to have bees fly out to investigate when i pulled out their dead). well i am pleased to say the pink hive seems to be doing well, just clustered in the top hive body still! the picture at the top of this post is inside the pink hive when the cover was removed. yes there are some dead bees lying around, which is not unexpected on a good day, but there were many strong, alive ones and i am just thrilled!

now i realize that many, many bees die during the long stretches between days where it is warm enough to bother the hives. but still, it is shocking to see the actual piles of dead bees i did pull out of each hive. the following pictures will show you. i am still uncertain if the white hive is alive or not. when i opened them up i did not see their cluster and none came to challenge me when i cleaned the hive out. but they fooled me before by just staying clustered in the middle of the hive, where i can't see them, so i am hoping. anyway, here are the pics of the deceased between the last time i cleaned them out, which was probably close to a month ago, and now. (you know these pictures might end up all over the place as i am still not good with adding pics to blogs, so hopefully you will be able to sort it all out, if not please ask!)
if you are wondering what the blue bucket is on the pic of the inside of the pink hive, it is an inverted bucket with a couple of pin prick holes in the lid, and inside a 2 to 1 ratio of sugar syrup as a supplemental thing. my bee mentor does this with his hives but i didn't trust it much myself, and just put a tiny bit of syrup in buckets like this in each of the hives. i mean, if you have a full bucket of syrup right above your cluster and the bucket would burst from the cold, wow, the whole lot would drown out your bees! i am unsure if i will continue with this way of supplemental feeding. i think i much prefer the recipe for a bee candy that i found on the web, published by a welsh beekeeper i am in contact with. here is a link for the recipe and i suggest everyone check out his whole site, as it is well done, and he is most amiable to questions and communications. when you get to his site the little pictures at the top have pull down links to them. let me know what you think! would love feedback. i am trying to do my bees with no chemicals, just natural products , and that seems to be mr. davies way also. would love to keep chatting but time to get supper arranged. hugs to all


Captain's Wife - Jennifer said...

Hi, it is nice to meet you! I think bees are fascinating and have contimplated raising them someday. I am looking forward to hearing more about your experiences!

Comfrey Cottages said...

not too much happening this time of year but hoping to have some time to just post some informational type things soon jennifer. once you get bee fever you never look back!lol can't describe the feeling i have for the girls very well. i just love them!