Saturday, February 04, 2006

Yesterday was a Gift!

It was 70F, but felt like 75 or more. Warm sun, light breeze, birds singing and most important: the bees were flying.
That meant there were fewer bees in the hives to get upset when I opened the hives.
It was predicted to be 50F & rainy. What a gift!
I loaded the Gator with the buckets of syrup (super thick, gooey), the bee tool bucket, bottles of water warm from the greenhouse & an empty bucket for trash. I raided the kitchen for scooping tools and a bag of rags.
Once into a couple of hives (nice girls!) I found out that some of the styrofoam top feeders had sprung leaks from being chewed on by wax moths. One feeder has wax moths salted through the whole bottom. They went straight in. Grrrrrr.
I think that I can coat the bottoms with fiberglass, silicone or something similar.
I was happily through four hives when I opened a feisty one. Like a cloud of avenging angels! I walked through the weeds back to the shed, looked for the duct tape, taped the ankles and wrists and lit the smoker. They were with me all the way! Fewer, but enough so they were a bother. Serious Girls: Bent on a mission!
When I got back and smoked them down, I found that they'd gone through about half of their pollen patty. It's two boxes, and they seem to have it filled. I really need to get some "Imrie shims" to give me enough room for a larger pollen patty and a bag feeder. All the bees were eating their pollen patties well. I need to make more and put them in the freezer.
That was one of the feeders that leaked, so I pulled an empty drawn frame and, using my hive tool, scraped some of soft sugar syrup into the wax cells. It worked fairly well. I did that on a couple other hives. I also filled the inner cover on the downhill side with the soft crystallized syrup. The bees will put it in cells where they want it.
Overall, they looked good. I think the tape and smoke will be necessary until 'real' spring comes. I still think I have a couple of losses to come. It may depend on the weather.

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