Sunday, April 12, 2015

Bee Feed

I tried two different ratios for bee feed this year. Having two different hives is kind of fun, because I can try different things and see if they make a difference. My bees were hived within 5 minutes of each other. I've researched 3 different ratios for Bee feed. 1:1, 1:2, 2:1 Sugar is first, water second. I tried the 1:1 and the 1:2. All is best mixed with hot water. Some suggest boiling your water to purify it, but do not add the sugar in until it has cooled slightly. Do not boil your sugar water. If it caramelizes it can make the bees sick.

The 1:1 ratio is used to encourage the drawing of honeycomb. It is not recommended for summer and winter use, but is great for the spring. I've really noticed the difference between the two hives.

Here's a picture of the hive where I used the 1:2 ratio. I should also say that there were many dead bees at the bottom of this cage. I'm assuming it was because of the cold? So it looks like this colony is having a much harder time getting started.

Only the first 3 frames have bees and honeycomb. Absolutely nothing is happening on that 5th frame.

I have checked on the first hive a few times since hiving the bees, still not much is going on, but we had a cold snap shortly after I hived the bees and I think this hive struggled much more to stay warm because of their low numbers. Looking back I probably should have taken the cage back and asked for a different set of bees. After the snow fell they quit carrying out their dead until it warmed up a bit and the snow had melted. I could tell the second hive was doing much better because they were able to carry out their dead even during the snow.

I started by placing blankets over the hives in the evening, making sure that I didn't cover their entrance too much. If a colony is established then they are fine to huddle and keep warm, but I was worried about their newness.

The danger with covering them with blankets is that it doesn't allow for good airflow and also the heat the bees generate can end up as condensation which ends up falling on them as freezing drops of water, NOT good! I left the blankets on over night and took them off first thing in the morning, but the snow continued to drop.

I decided on giving them just a little protection.

And then went with fresh dry blankets as it got colder.

I was so worried about my little ladies, but they pulled through just fine, the smaller hive struggling just a little more.

Here's a look at the hive with the 1:1 ratio. Also, I didn't quite get the frame spacing right in this box, I had intended on fixing it quickly, and I came back quickly, but these industrious bees had already built all kinds of honeycomb. I added in more frames, but I'm sure I'll be adding another box soon. All this work was done in 1 weeks time!

3 weeks later they were doing so well that I went ahead and added that top box. Although, by the looks of this pic, I could probably have done it then, but we were still running a little cold at night and I thought it would be easier to keep warm if I waited a little.

And now for the completely random:

I was trying to get a close up of the pollen pouches (yellow sometimes orange sacks on the bees legs) but they are so fast! This was my best effort :-)

This poor creature is MAD! He's been on the trap for 4 days and is still ALIVE? I had no idea! Why is it that the more of a nuisance a creature is the harder they are to kill? I'de let him go, but I still remember what those darn wasps did to my hive last year!

Lovely Olivia helps make Bee feed and organize the hive! She is a daring little creature.

Busy, busy bees!

Lots a lots a fun!
Thanks Oliva

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