Oct 27 2014
So October 10, I fed each of the hives 1 gallon of 2:1 syrup in the morning.
I decided to keep the feeders in until the last minute to make sure that if they needed food, I could quickly add some before it got too cold.
This morning, at 8:30am, it was 38 degrees out and I decided to see if they still need food. It’s supposed to get down to 35 tonight so I think the cold snap has actually started.
I put on HB’s bee jacket – momentico -
There is nothing worse than having poor equipment. I have my great bee suit, but there are times when I want to get in and out of the hives in 5 minutes so I really just need a jacket or veil and gloves, rather than getting into the whole suit thingamabob, which can be a pain. So I’ve been using HB’s jacket. It’s a size 3XL, which means that the jacket is so loose around the bottom that bees could just fly up my jacket by the hundreds. It also has a safari style built in hat with a veil, but the hat part is so big (for a 3XL guy) that it continually falls down over my eyes so I can’t see anything. I spend (and spent today) the entire time shoving the hat up, trying to see through the veil and as soon as I let go of the hat, the whole contraption falls over my face and I can’t see a thing. I need to break down and this Saturday, go to the bee supply house and just get a jacket/veil in my size.
OK – I’m back -
I put on HB’s bee jacket, my gloves, 2 gallons of 2:1 syrup and dug out 4 frames in storage, 3 of which have bits of honey and the other was a drone frame with a few frozen drone pops. This was in case they no longer need feeding, I could pull the feeder and replace it with two frames each.
I popped the top of the orange hive first (no smoking since I was only going to be 2 minutes. This one has a regular lid and then an inner lid/cover with the vent hole in the top. When I pulled off the inner lid the bees were glommed on to the underside of the lid. I laid it gently upside down on top of the other hive. The girls are moving like a super slo-mo movie because it was cold.
The feeder in this hive still had about 1/2 the syrup from 2 weeks ago with about 50 dead girls in the syrup. So they think they have plenty of food for the winter and weren’t eating any more. Last time I inspected them, they did indeed have a lot of food in there.
So I pulled the feeder permanently for the winter and replaced it with two of the frames, put the lid back on carefully so as not to squish any girls. I hosed out the feeder, then cleaned it and the screen ladders with warm, soapy water and rinsed well and stored in the bee shed.
I then popped the single insulated lid of the blue hive. This feeder was dead dry and there were girls crawling around inside of it.
Last time I inspected the blue hive, they had plenty of food but not as much as the orange hive. So I went ahead and put in 1 gallon of syrup in this hive. I’ll check again in a couple of days and see if they drained it. If they do drain it, and it’s still not freezing at night, I’ll give them another gallon.
There were a few girls that were a little irritable, but they were so slow moving they just kind of plopped on my suit and buzzed. I brushed them back into the hive and desuited.
When I got back in the house, I was working on the computer and about an hour later, all of a sudden, a girl pops off my T-shirt in the back and buzzes to the window by my desk. She must have been sitting on me the whole time. I put her in a jar and took her out to the hive and let her go on the front porch.
Nearly time to start thinking about actually wrapping them up and insulating them. I don’t want to get them too warm too early as I want them to huddle up and stop eating so much and see if the queen wants to shut down for the winter.
Cozy up, little girls and help each other get through the winter.