The warm weather has continued, with most days above 60 degrees and a few above 70. That is all about to change and go back to normal, which is close to freezing at night and mid-40s during the day.
The good news continues for this hive – for now! There is plenty of activity on the warm sunny days. In fact in the last week they are even bringing in pollen from somewhere, my guess is the maples. The news reported several trees, including the maples, with high pollen counts right now on the hay fever report. Good Times! My concern now is as the weather returns to “normal” that the bees may have already started the spring build up. I have decided that I will not being doing any in depth hive inspections in order to not chance rolling the queen or chilling any brood, so I cant be sure what is happening. Today is the last predicted extra warm day for the next 10 days so I popped the top and found about half the sugar bricks remaining. I dropped in a pollen patty and closed it back up. The weather was so nice they barely noticed I was there! Plenty of bees inside and out doing what bees do, so keeping my fingers crossed this hive makes it to “real” spring!
This hive consist of two deep hive bodies, a spacer for feeding and a top entrance, and a quilt box currently full of wood shavings.
While this rural life can be great during spring and summer, I truely love fall and winter. What a great day it was today!
The day started sitting in a frosty tree stand. It is deer season here and with sunrise later and later I didn’t even have to get up early. I always dreamed of this day when instead of getting up early and driving for more than an hour to hunt I could just get up and walk out back. It now takes me longer to get dressed in several layers, than to get to my stand. It was a balmy 25 degrees, but I loved every minute of it. Plus since I am fortunate enough to work remotely, I was able to sleep in, hunt for 2 hours an still get to work on time.
It was going to be the last relatively warm day for a while so I took the opportunity to feed the bees the sugar bricks I had made according to Laurie’s recipe. I cut it down since I only have two hives and it turned out not too bad. When I got to the hives it was about 2pm and 48 degrees. There were a couple of bees out flying so I figured it was safe to open up the hive. I was ecstatic too see clustered bees. A couple were none to happy I left the door open, overall things looked good. I quickly placed half the sugar brick in each hive and closed them back up. There is normally a warm spell in January, so will check on them again and see if the need more sugar. Otherwise beekeeping is over for 2016.
After a normal work day, it was holiday date night. Meaning we headed to town for dinner, shoppping, and a live nativity presentation. The shopping included buying our live Christmas and black oil seeds to keep our winter feeders full. The nativity presentation was a drive through setup of the life of Jesus. I had to laugh a little since the specific nativity part consisted of two small goats. I give an A for a good overall effort.
We spent Thanksgiving at Universal Studios Orlando with the family where it was 80 degrees both days, so we are planning to have a mini turkey dinner tomorrow with all the trimmings. Personally I am only in it for the pumpkin pie!
Jump to the comments and share about your fall/winter activities.
This time last year I was cleaning out the beehives. We lost both hives from that first year. My initial summation was they we overwhelmed by hive beetles due to a bad location. While I still think the location was bad (too much shade and moisture) I have come to the conclusion the beetles probably took over after a mite investation damaged the hive beyond repair. We didn’t check or treat for mites last year.
This year the first of September in a hasty rush we treated with MAQS. Why hasty, well really I didn’t feel qualified to test and count mites and everything I ready online said “you have mites” even if you don’t think you do. So before we ran out of warm days, we treated. Feel free to flame me in the comments for not testing first or because you believe in being treatment free. The treatment went well and in part due to the new location the beetle count was down, not great but much better than last year.
Both hives were low on stores, the fall flow seemed bad based on what little I know in my second year. The 2:1 sugar syrup feeding begin and continued through October at which point both hives appeared to have two mostly full deeps and were active and still bringing in pollen from who knows where. The feeder was removed and two more frames of empty comb were added in its place.
Last item before winter was to build and install a quilt box. This became a priority as we are forcasted to have our first frost this next week. The box was made from 1×4 and lined with metal screen. It was filled half full of the same wood shavings we use for the chickens and placed on top above the shim. The shim will allow us to add a sugar brick on each hive later in the season. The shavings are supposed to wick moisture from the hive and allow it to evaporate out ventilation holes instead of dripping back into the hive and freezing the bees.
Winter HIve Quilt Box 2016
For now the bees are busy during the heat of the day and they are ready for winter as best we know how.