November 27, 2011

Discouragement

Well it is the end of November already…..  And I have not written a blog post since May.  It’s not that I was lacking material to write about (the bees always provides that).  It’s just that by the middle of June I was discouraged with the progress of my efforts. 
Perhaps some of you may have better suggestions for me regarding my beekeeping efforts.

As you can probably tell from the post title, this year was another bad year for me and the bees.

In late winter we always hope for a productive year, but for the past three years the bees have not produced honey for us.

 Left:  Bees feeding on sugar candy and pollen patty










The season started slowly.  It was a rainy spring, and the spring lasted much longer than usual.

Spring actually arrived a few weeks early.  But the cold wet weather kept the bees inside the hives and not collecting honey and nectar.

Right:  Foraging worker bee












During the summer we had just the right about of sun and rain, no drought, plenty of flowers, plenty of work for the bees to do, but I could tell that the nectar flow was sporadic.

One day the bees would be flying like crazy, the next there would be very little activity.

As I look back on the season I cannot point to one thing that went  wrong.  It must have been a culmination of many factors.

My biggest problem this year was robbing.  I thought it would be smart to start the new colonies way across the property from the old ones.  The new location would offer more sun light during the winter months.



 Left:  Weak hive being fed sugar syrup from a division board feeder.  These feeders were robbed out by strong colonies nearby








This was an attempt on my part to decrease the winter losses by allowing the hives to warm up a little more on sunny winter days than the older hives have the darker old location (we’ll see how this works).  I also thought that by moving the new hives away from the older hives there would be less opportunity for robbing to start.

Well I was I ever wrong. 

The new hives which had a smaller population of bees were continually robbed out not only of any sugar syrup I was feeding them, but also of any stores of nectar that they were collecting themselves.  Without stores of honey and pollen the new colonies would not increase. 

I tried feeding the sugar syrup into the small hives first, then the larger hives….  I tried feeding  the sugar syrup into the larger hives first, waiting a day, then feeding syrup to the smaller hives.

I even resorted to building a feeding station away from the hives, that all the bees could access and get syrup.

Nothing I tried worked….  Yes the bees from all the hives would come and take 5 gallons of sugar syrup from the yard feeder in two days, but as soon as it ran out, the strong hives would return to robbing out the weaker hives.   

I also did not like feeding wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets with my precious public sugar syrup feeder.

So the fat hives got fatter, and the weak hives got weaker and died out.

Although the larger hives produced a surplus crop of 60 pounds of honey, I could not trust the honey since it was probably mixed with sugar syrup.

I fed all the honey back to the hives.

All this robbing was not conducive to increasing our hive numbers.  New packages, hive splits, and nucs brought on site from other locations were all destroyed by the robbing bees. 

Only three hives survived the summer and will be over wintered.

Then there was the small hive beetle……  I’ll talk about that next time.
And there's next year.....  There's always next year.

11 comments:

  1. I’ve been exploring for a bit for any high quality articles or blog
    posts

    on this kind of area . Exploring in Yahoo I at last
    stumbled upon this site. Reading this

    info So i am happy to convey that I have a very good uncanny feeling I

    discovered exactly what I needed. I most certainly will make certain to do not forget this web

    site and give it a look regularly.
    Also visit my homepage ... www.catralspain.net

    ReplyDelete
  2. Somebody essentially help to make seriously articles I would state.
    This is the first time I frequented your website page and
    thus far? I surprised with the research you made to


    make this particular publish incredible. Fantastic

    job!
    Here is my homepage :: Fishingspain.Net

    ReplyDelete
  3. I loved as much as you will receive carried out right here.

    The sketch is attractive, your authored

    material stylish. nonetheless, you command
    get bought an nervousness

    over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come further formerly again since exactly

    the same nearly a lot often inside case you shield this hike.
    Here is my weblog ; click through the up coming page

    ReplyDelete
  4. I simply desired to say thanks yet again. I
    am not sure what I would've done in the absence of the tricks documented by you regarding

    such area. It was actually an absolute challenging

    concern for

    me personally, nevertheless

    seeing a new expert way you handled the issue

    made me to leap over fulfillment. I will be happier for this assistance and then have high hopes

    you comprehend what a

    great job

    your are providing educating many people with

    the aid of your

    webblog. More than likely you've never come across any of us.
    Feel free to surf my blog - http://www.almoradi.us/almoradi-alicante-costa-blanca-spain-history.html

    ReplyDelete
  5. I’ll immediately grab your rss as I can not find your
    email subscription

    link or e-newsletter service. Do you have any?
    Please let me know in order that I

    could subscribe. Thanks.
    Look at my web site :: http://alboxproperty.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. I would like to show my admiration for your kind-heartedness supporting all those that absolutely need assistance with
    this area. Your very own commitment to getting the message around became unbelievably

    significant and has frequently encouraged workers like me to realize their goals.
    Your personal useful help entails so much to me and a whole lot more to my peers.
    Thanks a lot; from everyone of us.
    Stop by my homepage ; http://www.costablancaspain.us

    ReplyDelete
  7. As I site possessor I believe the content matter here is rattling wonderful , appreciate it for your efforts.
    You should keep it up forever! Good Luck.
    Feel free to surf my web site :: Www.villasspainproperty.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. I've been browsing online more than 4 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It's pretty worth enough for me.
    In my opinion, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you
    did, the web will be a lot more useful than ever before.
    Also visit my page : spoof commercials

    ReplyDelete
  9. I like what you guys are up too. Such smart work and reporting!

    Carry on the

    excellent works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to my blogroll.
    I think it'll improve the value

    of my web site :)
    Take a look at my web site - harmine

    ReplyDelete
  10. Spot on with this write-up, I really believe this website needs a lot more attention.
    I'll probably be back again to read more, thanks for the advice!

    Here is my page ... Waist to hip ratio chart

    ReplyDelete
  11. Its not my first time to go to see this web page, i am visiting this web site dailly and take nice
    data from here everyday.

    Take a look at my web-site: Abercrombie Brussel

    ReplyDelete

Spring

Spring
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