Saturday, October 10, 2009
The hives were light at the end of the summer, and the girls have been working hard to make up for their depleted stores. Luckily, September brought lots of pollen; Goldenrod, Purple Loosestrife, Aster and others. Like them or not, we count on many of the invasive weeds for fall forage.
I fed back all but one of the frames of capped honey that I took from the hives in July. The following photos show the emptying of a full frame over the course of about five hours.
Realizing that I was attracting bees other than my own, I moved the feeding indoors, meaning that I now have an empty box on the top of each hive that I put a feeder in full of Bee Tea (sugar, water, thyme, salt and camomile.) The girls are sucking it down daily. I am hopeful that by the time the chill sets in in a few weeks, they will have enough for the winter. I am more worried about mites, which rose to a dangerously high level over the month of September. I have been treating the hives with Oxalic Acid (a compound found naturally in things like Rhubarb), but I am still seeing a lot of them.
This last photo shows some of what I can learn from outside of the hive. The white plastic sits under the hive and catches what falls through the screened bottom of the hive. This is how I monitor the mite level in the hive, and it also lets me see when the bees are uncapping honey, or in this case when brood has hatched. The two piles of "stuff" is from emerging bees chewing through the caps of their cells. From this I can see the the winter brood has hatched! These are the girls that will live the relatively long life of four months or so until the spring brood can be laid. They are who the winter survival of this hive depends on.
I wish them love and the best of luck.