Sunday, October 01, 2006

Getting Ready for Winter

Brian stopped by and we did an inspection. Here's what we found.

Hive #1 which was installed from a package in to new woodenware on June 1st, 2006.
  • This hive is healthy and disease free aside from some small hive beetles & I'm treating for them with CheckMite strips. This area of Georgia has been hot, dry and mostly drought conditions since the Spring. The hive has been resistant to drawing new comb & has only drawn enough for brood rearing and minimal stores. The hive appears to be thriving except they aren't gathering much pollen or nectar. There has been no nectar flow to speak of. Overall this hive is NOT ready for the winter. The hive consists of 1 deep brood chamber that is probably less than 50% full and it doesn't weigh much.

Hives #2, 3 & 4 were acquired through some horse trading and put in my backyard in late July 2006.
  • All consist of 1 deep brood chamber that is packed full of brood, pollen, nectar & honey. The brood chambers are 100% full & very heavy. These colonies are a solid bet to make it through the winter (I guess??). All hives had a medium honey super when I got them. Hives #2 & 3 were empty supers with drawn comb. They have not added any nectar to these supers & I just pulled them off to store for the winter. Hive #4 came with a full super of honey and is still in place. I added an empty medium super to this hive but they didn't draw out the comb or gather any nectar.

It's very apparent that I haven't had a nectar flow since installing these hives in my backyard. Next year I will move them to another location in hopes of catching the second nectar flow. This is also referred to as the Fall flow. The drought conditions are most likely responsible for the lack of nectar. I truly hope the Spring is a different story.

My next move will be to "rob" a couple frames each from the more established hives to give Hive #1 enough to make it through the Winter. Additionally, I'm going to start feeding them a 1:1 sugar water ratio until the brood chambers are "honey bound". I intend to feel all 4 colonies to prevent any robbing. I will have to closely monitor the hives to ensure they all make it to Spring.

Sting Count:
Chris - 6
Brian - 2

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