Thursday, March 8, 2012

Spring in the Bee Yard

Last spring we lost both colonies in the two hives we had started one year previously.  There were lots and lots of dead bees on the bottom board.  The inspector had looked at the empty hive boxes and determined that the colonies had likely starved to death during the winter because they were weak.

We bought two nucs and installed the new colonies in the hives. 

This winter there were so many warm periods and we frequently saw the bees flying.  We fed them in the fall in preparation for the winter.  Recently we noticed all activity had ceased in the yellow hive.  When we looked inside we found it empty.  The frames were empty.

And there were only a few dead bees.

We closed it up to keep out opportunistic insects.  The honey was gone and may have been removed by robber bees.

The green hive has been buzzing with lots of activity.  In the winter we put a reducer on the entrance so mice cannot get inside.  To mice this is heaven, warm, protected from the elements, and plenty of free food.  The reducer means when the bees are flying they have to take turns entering and exiting. 

Today we removed the reducer so they do not have to wait in line (I know how I hate waiting in line). 
Everything is blooming now, trees, shrubs, flowers, everywhere and the bees are coming loaded with pollen.  So with high hopes we added a super to the top.

Keeping with "beach colors" we put on our first super.  We removed the feeder (on the left) installed a queen excluder (this is a mesh screen that the bees can go through but the queen is too large to fit through) and then the super.  We do not want the queen going up into the super and laying eggs.  Hopefully this is where the bees will store their honey and we can steal it.  We only peeked into the hive today.  It was very active.  We will do an inspection in a few days.

Keep your fingers crossed. 

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