Monday, October 09, 2006

Hive #2 has absconded ! ! !

After the last inspection I placed an order with Mann Lake for several hive top feeders. I need to feed a 2:1 ratio of sugar syrup to ensure they have enough stores to make it through the winter. The order from Mann Lake arrived Friday and I spent most of Monday morning painting them so they could be installed this afternoon. After work Brian stopped by to give me a hand, the picture above is of Brian pouring the sugar syrup into the last hive. The hive top feeder is housed in a shallow honey super and is made of molded plastic. It holds approximately 4 gallons of syrup.

I also took the opportunity today to replace some of the older boxes that were on the hives. I replaced 2 deep brood boxes and 1 honey super. I simply moved the frames from the old boxes into the new ones. During this process I found that Hive #2 was in terrible shapes. I didn't find any eggs, larvae, pupae or capped brood. The population of the hive consisted of a few hundred! Evidently sometime about 21 days ago the bees absconded! I found no apparent reason inside the hive that would have forced them to find alternate living quarters. The last time I did an inspection, I failed to pull out every frame in this hive (my back was bothering me). Had I done so, I would have realized a lot sooner I had problems. This late in the year I doubt they swarmed. I guess it's possible the were Queenless and the remaining bees drifted to the other 3 hives??? To be totally honest, I ain't sure what the hell happened to this hive ! ! ! Most of the frames were completly empty of any nectar or capped honey, apparently the other hives have robbed them of the remaining stores. I did have a couple of partial frames that I place in the weakest hive (hive #1)

With that being said..........I'm now down to a total of 3 hives. With the addition of the hive top feeder and the 2:1 sugar syrup, I feel good about their chances for overwintering. Notice I didn't say that I feel great about their chances. I feel badly about Hive #2 and cannot believe I totally missed the issues. Well, I guess that's another lesson learned the hard way! To top it all off....I also got stung today! Geez.....I'm starting to feel like the bees are keeping me instead of the other way around ! ! !

Sting Count:

Chris - 7
Brian - 2

1 comment:

2-Wheeler said...

Sorry to read about Hive#2 and the aggressiveness of the other hive. I don't know enough about the bees to know what inspires them to draw comb or not, but my bees in their first year have been eager comb builders from the start. Perhaps it's the available nutrients?

As for starting a garden, I'd start with a range of flowers the bees will like. I'd focus on finding flowering bushes or perennials that bloom at different times. Plan a rolling cascade of blooms that will start (in GA) from early March right up through Christmas. With your climate it is possible to do that and the bees will love it!

Notice what blooms in nearby gardens, find out what they are and make a list for the nursery. I remember the forsythia blooms well in very early spring in GA:

The last thing to bloom in my garden when I lived in GA was the Camellias. They bloomed right up through Christmas!

My bees love these plants in my garden: Perennial Salvia, Russian Sage, Spirea and Asters. Blooming ornamental fruit trees are always good too (crabapple, chokecherry, Bradford pear) for spring blooms. I also remember blueberries do well in GA.

I've heard there are also a few bloomers to stay away from that grow in your area including Rhododendron and a few others.

In my experience the vegetables that need the bees the most are those members of the squash family, including Zucchini, summer and winter squash, pumpkins, cucumbers and melons like cantaloupe. Plant what you like to eat, or can store by canning or freezing.

The best thing to do is to check with your local extension office.