Monday, February 17, 2014

Winter Activities For Beekepers- Feeding The Bees

We finally had a nice day with a high in the upper 30's that coincided with one of my days off.  It was a good day to take the bee candy I made a few weeks ago out to the hives

I have always fed the bees extra sugar cakes to make sure they can get through late winter and early spring without starving to death, but every year there is still honey left in the hives by the time the dandelions bloom.  The bees do consume the sugar cakes at the same time they eat the remaining honey, so the question is- Would the bees survive just fine without the sugar cakes?  The answer is- I don't know.  But I would rather be safe than sorry.

Anyway, when I got out to the hives a pulled the tops off, this is what I found:
Georgia's cluster

Ida's cluster

You can see the clusters in each of the two hives- it looks like both are coming through the winter in pretty good shape. I think Georgia might have a larger population than Ida but it is hard to tell as we can't really see how far down the cluster extends.

I put an empty super on top of each of the hives and laid the sugar cakes inside.  Here is a picture of what that looked like before I put the top cover on.
Ida with sugar cakes inside an empty super
I glanced down between the frames and it looks like all the frames in the upper deep hive body of each hive still have honey- that is a good sign that they will remain healthy through the spring.  But I didn't pull any of the frames out since I didn't want to disturb the clusters too much while it is still cold outside, so I don't really know how far down the honey stores actually go.

 I plan on splitting one of the hives to repopulate a third hive that is currently vacant later this spring- probably toward the end of April.  I don't know which hive will get split- we will just have to wait and see which population is booming the most


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