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Posts Tagged ‘feeding honeybees’

After my last entry,(” Warm Spell” ) we did indeed have another cold spell with snow.  Ah… Spring! It’s now getting warmer and nights aren’t as cold; temp today got up to 60 degrees but will drop down into the low thirties.  Such changes in the weather pose a challenge to the honeybees, but they have adapted to our climate here and hopefully made it through OK.

I took advantage of the beautiful day to take a look inside and see for sure how they are doing. Hive #1.  This is the one that replaced their queen themselves…so she is now a “local”.  I was a small colony going into winter but I left them plenty of honey. I was excited to see her alive and well and beginning to lay. queen-2

In this photo I circled the queen and put in an arrow showing a developing larva.  The brown capped brood cells are the pupating larvae…they will hatch out in a few days and little by little the colony will expand.

I also took the opportunity to put in a feeding bowl for them.  Even though there is still plenty of honey in the combs, I feel a little extra food wouldn’t hurt.  I mixed up 2 cups water with 1 cup sugar and put it in a 1 quart baggie in a plastic food container.  Then I pricked the surface with a pin.  This will allow the sugar solution to ooze out in little drops on the surface of the baggie. The bees can lap up the sugar water and they won’t drown as they would if I just put the liquid in the bowl.

feeding-bowl

The second hive looked just as strong. There was still some extra uneaten honey so I took one of the combs out… all the better, as I have just finished eating the honey collected last fall.  comb

So….. all is good with the honeybees for now.  We will no doubt get some more cold weather and even a stray snow storm yet, but Spring is definitely on its way. As it continues to warm up, and trees and flowers begin to flower the queen will increase egg production and the hive will really start to hum!

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Two days after they kicked out all or most of the drones, I wanted to check inside the hive to see how the colony was settling in.   As I took off a few of the bars I saw that they really weren’t eating any of the sugar water. Couldn’t they find it?  Then I examined each of the combs.  They had eaten all the stored honey out of the comb and  weren’t drawing any comb. They weren’t too happy either, and they began buzzing and dive bombing me.  I got the hint , quickly closed up the hive and  set up a bee feeding station.  I mixed 2 cups of sugar with 4 cups of water and put it in one of the self watering bottles I used when raising my chicks last year.

Hungry bees at the feeder

To my surprise, they drank it all in just a couple hours!  Wow….they sure were hungry.  I have since read that many colonies will starve during this period between the spring and summer blooming period.  We’re in a real drought now….hasn’t rained in months, there is very little that is blooming, and this just adds to the problem.  No wonder they craved the sugar water!    Each day now I keep the feeder filled  and hope this will get them through this difficult period.  It’s been three days now since I started feeding them. Will check on them tomorrow.

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