Monday, January 14, 2013

Checking Over the Winter

This past weekend was absolutely beautiful. I went out to my hive to see how it was doing and could see some activity out front. Temperatures got up into the high 60’s ( Don't check unless it is above 55 degrees) and even though it was cloudy, my bees were out foraging for whatever they could find and going on cleansing flights. I’ve learnt that seeing bees at the entrance doesn’t mean that your colony is still there (a friendly beekeeper thought differently and found out her hive was being robbed). I put my ear up to my hive and could hear a lot of buzzing inside. It was a great sound to hear.
My Hive

Currently, my hive has three supers on it. Bottom is based as the brood chamber where the cluster should be. The top two were mostly filled with honey frames at the beginning of winter (early November). With the weather being nice, I was able to work my hive and check my bees. I did not know what the food stores would be like for my bees so I brought fondant and corn syrup with me (always pays to be prepared).
Bees at Entrance
Bees on Inner Cover

My main concern with checking my hive was to ensure they had enough stored honey to last them a couple more months. When I took off my inner cover I found a lot of bees at the top of my hive. I was happy to see my girls doing well but I knew that there wasn’t much in the food stores. There was no corn syrup left in the hive top feeder...bummer… and only the center two frames of my top honey super had any honey left on them. My girls had broken cluster and were needing food bad.

Hive Top Feeder

I worked my way down to the bottom brood chamber. I flattened out my fondant and placed it on the frames right above the cluster. I closed up my hive and added two gallons of corn syrup to my hive top feeder.

I hope my girls are able to store some more food before another cold spell.