Monday, October 31, 2011

Beautiful day...

Highs in the 50's, bright and sunny, and the girls are working the feeders. Happy to report the orange hive was able to handle the 3 nights of below freezing temps that hit us suddenly. Hopefully they'll be able to store enough syrup and make it through winter with a borrowed honey super from the white hive. The white hive and orange hive have a good amount of activity at the entrance but not much from the blue (15 or so hanging on the porch interested in something) or the stained hive. I made a fresh batch of 2:1 last night and added the juice from 2 lemons to lower the pH of the 4 gallons of syrup when it cooled.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I guess they heard me...

It was a nice 70 degrees today so I spent the evening watching the bees. All of the hives were pretty quiet except for the orange hive... Those girls were HARD on the feeders and pollen patties today. It was a traffic jam at the hive entrance and the feeders were swamped with the peach colored ladies. I'd guess at least 90% of the bees at the feeders today were the peach colored cordovans from the orange hive. It was nice to see. Either they know the cold snap is coming tonight or they've been reading my blog! LOL ;^)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Nice day for an inspection before the rain and cold...

Did a quick inspection on all of the hives this afternoon. It's been around 70 today and sunny so I decided to take a peek before the rain and chilly weather that's predicted sets in.

White Hive
Looked great as always. Lots and lots of activity from the entrance and lots of bees inside. I added another empty medium super to give them something to work on. They've filled 3 mediums so far and all of it's capped. They are starting to back fill the brood nest also. I figured if they can't finish it before the cold weather sets in I'll at least get some drawn wax.

Stained Hive
The entrance is pretty quiet but lots of bees inside. They are filling the supers with syrup and have some capped stores. These seemed to shut down and go into winter mode before the other hives.

Blue Hive
I was able to find the queen in this one and did notice a few new bees. I'm guessing they didn't supersede her or the new queen from the queen cells I saw on last inspection didn't make it back. They've went into shut down it looks like as I found very little brood. They are starting to store syrup and pollen but not near as much as I believe they will need for winter. Hopefully the weather stays nice and I'll to keep the syrup out for them and the other hives.

Orange Hive
Found the queen and some new bees but I didn't see any brood. This hive also has hardly any stores. There's barely any pollen or syrup being stored which boggles my mind because the entrance is active and I see a lot of the cordovan colored bees at the feeders. I've heard these bees are a hungry strain but I'm puzzled why they don't seem to be planning ahead. Maybe this cold snap we're supposed to get near the end of the week will light a fire under them. There's been plenty of 1:1 and pollen patties out for the last 2 months so I can't understand why they aren't hoarding like bees are supposed to. I plan to make candy boards for all the hives and steal two supers from the white hive of capped honey for this and the blue hive in the next few weeks so if they make it through the cold snap hopefully this will get them through winter. I'm concerned though as I really like the coloring of these bees. If they don't make it I'll try them again next spring and see how it goes.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The cold I'm hoping...

Checked the orange hive this afternoon and found 200+ bees dead on the ground in front of the hive. Not sure what's going on but hoping it has something to do with the cold and rain we've been having for the last week. All the hives were active today but the orange hive was the only hive with the dead bees out front. Tomorrow it's supposed to be in the 70's so I'll do an inspection. Just hoping it's not something else going on with them. I'll probably take the top super off the orange hive also if there's no signs of them drawing comb in it. No sense in having the extra space to heat if they aren't utilizing it.

I feel like we're in for a short fall this year so I'll get the feeders on the blue and orange hive tomorrow so I can hopefully give them enough to get them through the winter.

UPDATE...
I went ahead and put the 2 hive top feeders I have onto the orange and blue hive. I gave them each a small pollen patty as well as 1 little more than a quart of 1:1.

Orange Hive
I pulled out 2 frames for a quick check and they were very light. No stored honey, syrup, or pollen. Also I could see dead bees on the bottom of the hive so I removed the super from the bottom board and found it covered in dead bees and larva. I swept everything out and put everything back together with the feeders on top. There's thousands of them now on the ground in front of the hive. I'll get a photo of them tomorrow and put up.Very concerned and hope to find out what happened. I figure it was they either got too cold and didn't have enough food to keep the hive warm (I may have added the top deep super too early and it was just too much space for them to maintain) or I some how missed a serious robbing event. There is still a LOT of bees in the hive and although I didn't check more than 2 frames I did see brood. Off to beesource to see what the folks say...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Miserable last few days...

We've been having some chilly weather the last few days (lows near 40 and highs near 50) so I decided to walk out and check on the hives. I need to get into them as soon as it's nice enough. The rest of the week is supposed to be better so hopefully Wednesday I can open them up and take a look.

Orange Hive
Some dead bees and a larva on the landing board. No activity at all from the entrance and just a couple of bees hanging out on the front of the hive. They looked pretty cold (high today is 50).

Blue Hive
No activity either. One bee did come out to see what I was doing but that's it. No dead ones like with the Sunkist though.

Stained Hive
No activity at all. No dead bees on the board either though.

White Hive
Good activity from the entrance. They aren't as active as usual but they are still working the feeders it seems since that's the direction all the foragers are heading. The 1st hive/breed (Italians) is still doing the best!

I think when I check them next I'll add a jar feeder to the Carni's, Sunkist, and Buckfast just for good measure. Not sure the Italians are giving them much room at the 3 jar feeders I have set out for all of them.