January 30, 2011

So you think you are helping?

In the middle of December I quickly checked the bees and found that they had consumed almost all the candy feed I had installed in the hives in November. At that time I added more candy assuming that it would be consumed in about a month (January).

 Left:  A dead bee in the snow about 500 feet from the hive.  It is just too cold for them to be flying that far away from home.

With more snow predicted for our area this week, I thought it would be timely to check the hives and add more sugar candy if needed. I made the candy in the morning, let it cool and went to the apiary to install a piece in each hive. Sure enough, the candy feed was gone in most of the hives.

Right:  Looking through the hole in the inner cover you can see the bees are still alive.

With temperatures in the mid 30’s I carefully slipped a piece of candy under each inner cover so as not to disturb the clusters of bees. While I lifted the inner cover I took a peak inside to see how the bees were doing.

Right: Many dead bees after taking a cleansing flight in 35 degree weather.

All the hives seemed to have plenty of bees. I did notice some dysentery spots on the top of the frames in the last hive I checked. I had fed the bees sugar syrup and medicated against nosema in the fall, so I did not think much of it.

This morning I went out to look over the hives. This is what I found.

Left:  a closeup of the mess.

We have had a long spell of cold, probably five or six weeks where the bees have not been able to fly and take cleansing flights.

Apparently having been disturbed by my candy the bees broke cluster and attempted a cleansing flight.

Right:  An even closer look.

Being too cold, many of the bees were not able to return to the hive.

I have included photographs of the resulting mess.

I will have to wait for warmer weather before I can check these two hives to see if any of the hive will survive the rest of the winter.

And I thought I was helping them.

1 comment:

  1. There are a lot of fun things to do on Cape Cod. It is an exciting place where you can find amazing beaches, great lodging, good food and wonderful people!



Peach Pollen

Spring Pollen

Spring Pollen

Queen Cell

Queen Cell
Well Fed Queen Cell

Marked Queen

Marked Queen
Queen produced from my second graft attempt