Today it warmed up to 36 degrees and we still have so much snow on the ground. We took today as an opportunity to open up the hives quickly and feed the bees.
The twins helped Mama assemble the sugar boards. First we braced the bottoms of the boards; then laid foundation paper across the bottom (the bees will clean this out). Each board got a pre-made pollen patty. Then we packed moist sugar into the boards. The mason jars were used to leave a hole left for ventilation.
Finally we went up to the bee yard and Eric shoveled it all out. Sadly we do not have good news to report. Both hives appear to have died.
The right hive was our stronger hive going into winter (Beeonce’s). The cedar shavings we added seemed dry and were doing their job with moisture. I popped off the inner cover and there were a lot of dead bees in a cluster; my best guess is they starved. There is a small chance there could be live bees because we did not take out any frames to find out of there was a smaller cluster. We could not hear any buzzing. To be hopeful we left the sugar board on. 🤞🏻
The left hive (Britney Beech) wasn’t a huge surprise. This was a weak hive with very little food stores. We did make sure we left enough extra food for them. It’s possible they died earlier in the winter. They did not touch the food we left them in the top super. Eric did notice it was wet inside; likely a condensation issue with this hive.
My Beekeeping mentor is having a workshop in the near future on autopsy die outs. We hope to learn more definitive information. There are so many lessons to be learned in beekeeping whether it goes in our favor or not.
We will definitely tweak our process for next year. We plan to add Saskatraz Bees. They are gentle (great for the bee allergy), super honey producers, known for their overwintering ability and resistance to mites and brood diseases. They will be here April 28th! We have lots of work to do to get ready for them.
But for new Sugaring season is almost here! Maple Syrup anyone?? 🍁
Hey all! Sorry we have been missing in action. We have been busy bees and enjoying our first summer as Vermonters!
We added a girl to Twin Bears Maple Works. Say hello to Lucy!
Momma Bear went back to school and Papa Bear celebrated a birthday! Memeré and Peperé visited from Florida. We treated the hives for mites. Luckily the weather cooperated and the treatment went well. I will do a follow up post explaining why we treat and the issues mites can cause.
I finally weed wacked the bee-yard (jungle) and noticed one hive was running out of room. This past Saturday Grandpa and I added an addition onto the hives. This third hive box is an important one. This is the box that will get the bees through winter for the most part. It should have at least 50 pounds approximately of honey for them to survive. Along with us feeding them hopefully we will overwinter these bees and be able to extract some delicious honey next summer! You will notice in the photo with the taller hives there is a 4th box. This is a feeder box. My father and law and I decided we should be cautious and feed the bees to hopefully deter swarming. (Swarming is when there are too many bees in a hive and half decide to move out and they form a new queen.)
Our next thing to worry about is robbing. The next few weeks is when other honey bees, hornets, you name it rob hives. I will tell you how we deter this in the follow up post along with why we treat for mites.
Thank you for reading! We hope you are enjoying your summer! ☀️
It was a beautiful day for a beehive inspection class. I even got a little sunburn. We learned what too look for while inspecting. I saw for the first time bee eggs, larva,pupa and actual fuzzy baby bees hatch! I didn’t succeed at taking photos of these, but thanks to Encyclopedia Britannica we have a good explanation of a bees start of life.
The baby bees are born polite and clean their cells right out. You will see their bums in the air while cleaning. Check out this Nat Geo time-lapse of a bee egg to adult
We also learned how to differentiate capped brood (closed cell for the pupa stage), nectar & honey. Look at the honey 🍯 photo I got at class below.
In my last blog I talked about being able too see the bees carrying pollen in their pollen baskets. I was able to get a decent picture of this at class.
In class no one wore bee protection. The bees were so calm and gentle. I got stung once but that’s because a bee flew into my pony tail and panicked. (Ouch)
When my father in law and I got home we were overly confident and didn’t wear protection while inspecting the hives. BEE-once’s hive was calm and all went well. We got some pictures of all the bees work.
Do you see the honey? Yay! This honey isn’t for us but for the bees! The second hive It’s Britany BEE-ch didn’t go as well. They were quite angry. I got stung in the face, my father in law on the arm and another bee got stuck in my hair and stung me. Her hive was put back together very quick and we will inspect another day. We planted a rhubarb plant and some tyme (both great for bee health). Then called it a day.
My bee sting count is up to 4 for the year. We made two rookie mistakes today. Suit up and don’t inspect the hives too late in the day. Always learning!