Thursday, February 02, 2006

Bees! Bees! Bees!

Today I answer the BIG QUESTION! How many hives do I have?
Everytime someone hears about the bees they want to know that number! So do I!!!
So, today, about 3PM the temperature should get close to 65F. I wish that would happen earlier, but this is still winter. I am going to put a pollen patty on the top of each broodnest, which should be in the top of each hive, by now, & I'll top up their corn syrup supply, adding water where needed to soften it. I'm debating putting a jar of water in a front feeder (boardman feeder) on each hive, since the bees need water to thin the syrup and to raise the humidity for brood rearing. I can do that another day. I won't leave the hive open for longer than necessary, so I don't chill the brood, if any. The forsythia are blooming, so there should be at least a tiny patch.
We have had some nights that were very cold, but no snow this January, so if I have dead hives I know that it's fewer than it would have been with a hard winter. We could have winter coming, but I'll be surprised. You can see the pictures of the daffodils in the snow from last years Mardi Gras snow! That cold spell killed two hives (sniff, sniff).
When broodrearing starts it will be a tiny patch, maybe only a few cells, that they can keep at 96F constantly. After capping the pupating bees don't need outside warmth as much. Once they hatch, they'll warm the hive so more larva can be raised. Even the tiny clusters of bees will raise some brood.
This is where the parasitic mites take their toll. If the wintering bees were not properly nourished as larva, their lifespan may not match the length of the winter, and the cluster will lose their warmth. That's often the case where lots of hives die in the spring. When the Tracheal Mites hit England the beekeepers had huge early spring losses. The mites can only be seen in the spiracules of the affected bees by a microscope. It took alot of research to find the cause. Now the bees and mites have developed a modis vivendi. We are all hoping that will happen with the Varroa mites. We are breeding for it, and the mites are inevitably working toward it.
End of lecture! I can see you're all asleep! Will report on the girls.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Susi,
I love hearing about your beekeeping! Here's an article from today's Washington Post that you might like -

Let me know next time you're in NoVa - I don't think you've met our latest edition yet - Ella!

Take care.