Monday, December 06, 2010

So Far So Good

After an active summer with my bees I strapped down the tops on the hives to let them be. I left each hive enough honey to last the winter, but since it has been so cold and wet I figured it was time to look in on them today since the sun was shinning.

Honey bees don't like to be messed with when it is cold, rainy or windy. Though there was a stiff breeze today it was the best day in the last six weeks to open them up.

All six colonies in my upper bee yard were strong and healthy. Some even flew out to check me out. As a treat I poured about a half cup of drivert sugar on top of each cluster of bees. This is finely ground sugar. They can eat sugar in a dry state and another benefit is that it knocks off any mites that may be on the bees.

There are another seven hives down at the bee yard by my house. Here the news wasn't quite as good. All but two colonies were healthy. I had one colony that was totally missing, a symptom of Colony Collapse Disorder, and I had another colony that had starved. This is something I never like to see, little bee butts protruding from the honey comb sells. I had left them more than enough food to last the winter, but it appears their honey had been robbed by another colony, leaving them with nothing.

My Russian Blue colony was as nasty as ever. No sooner had I opened the lid and a couple hundred bees boiled out. Though theoretically it is too cold fro bees to fly they were all over me in an instant. They are going to be a fun group to work with come spring.

All the surviving lower colonies got their ration of drivert sugar and I strapped down the lids again to leave them alone for another two weeks. Thus the cycle continues.


Blogger darev2005 said...

My question is, since bees are naturally aggressive towards interlopers to begin with, why would you willingly elect to have a hive of highly aggressive bees at all? Is their byproduct worth the extra risks? Or is it just more of a "well, I ended up with them so I may as well take advantage of the situation" thing? Being allergic yet cognizant, I'm interested and repulsed at the same time.

6:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Checked mine today ad gave them sugar. It was just barely warm enough some ere out flying. Neither was horrible aggressive, though the one that was pissy last summer was definitely more active than the others.

5:13 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Darev, though they are hot and hard to work, aggressive bees seem to be stronger and more able to survive the winter and they produce more honey than a docile colony. I could put in a nicer queen, but then they would just be a weaker colony.

Critter, good, don't want you to suffer the loss you did last winter.

5:27 AM  

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