Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Today onwards, I could open up the hive and check that the Queens have been released from their boxes. This is done by the worker bees eating through the little bits of marshmallow that we placed in the hole where the cork was. (you can see the cork in some of the pictures posted earlier in the blog)

However, today although its lovely and sunny and warm, its REALLY breezy, and far too windy to open up the hives. Bees don't like the wind and don't fly much in it. I've just been down to the hives to check on the bees. 'Flor' has several bees out on the porch and around the feeder and a few flying about, but hive two is quieter with just a few around the feeder.

I wonder if hive two will always be quieter.

I was telling Val about how hive 2 had me worried on Monday. On Monday morning I was getting very concerned as hive two was so very quiet. I was starting to wonder if there was a reason it was so different to hive 1. Right from the beginning it was different. The bees were quieter and easier to install. Hive one were flying about and hive two just went straight in and were quiet. Just getting on with settling in.

Hive 1 has been active - lots of flying about, lots of being out on the porch and out on the feeder, and lots of flying about. Hive two has only ever had a few bees out at one time....just a little housekeeping here and there. Yet the sugar syrup has been going down at the same rate, so I knew the bees were ok inside and they were drinking and getting their fumagillin that they needed.

Anyway, by Monday I decided to ask other beekeepers about it. The first beek mentioned that it could be a problem with the Queen in hive 2 - perhaps she had died and I need to reQueen as soon as possible for the hive to survive! This of course worried me!!! I decided that as soon as I got back from taking Abigail to drama class, I would open up the hive (two days earlier than planned) and check the Queen.

Other beekeepers though said that they had had two hives that had acted in a similar way - one very active and one very quiet. They found that when they opened the hives up, the quiet hive was just doing more inside the hive and the active hive was doing less inside the hive. Both Queens were fine...just hives acting differently and this is why its so important to have a minimum of two hives as a beginner so that you can compare the two and it's less worrying when something like this happens!

Anyway, we took Abigail to drama and got home around 2pm to find BOTH hives VERY active!!!! Worry over!!! Hive 2 was just as active as Flora!!! Bees flying about all over the place being busy buzzy bees :) So I decided not to disturb the bees and left them alone.

I will open the hive and do my first inspection probably on Friday. Depending on the weather....

Oh and the bees drink sooo much of the sugar syrup! The feeders we have are huge and yet we filled them up yesterday morning almost full and they were mety by last night! Abigail couldn't believe it! Considering the size of a bee it's amazing how much they get through! I know they are in sunlight but surely evaporation can't explain much!! And no they aren't leaking because the angle of the hive would show proof of the bees are drinking it!!! Incredible!!!! But now the medicine is no longer in the feeders, we don't have to have the boxes on the front any more.

What with the 5 hummingbird feeders and the 2 bee feeders, we are getting through a LOT of sugar each week in this house!!!!


Charlynn said...

So, how long do you feed them the sugar syrup? Is it just until the flowers blossom, or is that a regular thing that beekeepers have to do?

Jane said...

Some people always feed the syrup, but most only feed through the winter or early Spring when there isn't any food for the bees in the area. In Winter most bees have honey stores to feed from but often by early Spring those stores have been depleted and with new packages like mine there often isn't the honey stores to feed them, so beekeepers feed them the syrup and pollen patties that are bought. (It looks like soft sticky fudge)

In a couple of weeks hopefully I can stop feeding the bees the syrup and they can fend for themselves - but I will always have to provide water for them - luckily I have a pond beside the hives but otherwise I would have to provide another water source. And in winter I will have to provide them with enough of their own honey and enough pollen patties and syrup to see them through to May next year with as little disturbance as possible.

Thats probably more information than you wanted lol :)

We just refilled the feeders - actually Lloyd did it this time - he's enjoying the bees as much as me :) he's already asking how many hives I want next year - I'm taking that as a good sign - and he says he'd like a hive in the vegetable garden!!! :)

Val - want to inherit my hives if we leave the country? I can't take them with me!! Lol I think I already know the answer to THAT one ;) Charie yes, bees NO ;)

Cori said...

That's really interesting about the different personalities of the hives!

7jays said...

YOu got that right!! LOL..... I dont' think I could get as excited about bees!

What brand of sugar are you buying? I think I will go and buy some stocks in that brand!