December 19, 2015…The Grand Kids Log Hive is going strong, I’m happy to say. I know the anchors are probably not necessary, but I can hear the heavy gusts of wind hitting at night and I got tired of imagining the tall hive tipping over. Now I can sleep better.:)
December 30, 2015…The temperature inside the hive is a chilly 46˙F (7˙C), and yet the bees were flying this cold day.
12-30-15…The bees broke ranks for a short time in the afternoon. I was relieved to see them after viewing the cold temp on the probe thermometer in back. When they’re in a cluster, you can’t see them in the viewing window.
December 18, 2015…Bee Beard Log Hive might be feeling his age, but the bees still like it as can be seen in the video.
12-19-15…my only Warré, having lost the other two during the summer. After seeing too much moisture on the bottom board, I removed it and tacked some black plastic film on three sides. We’ve been having record rainfall in December and it’s possible rain was entering on the observation window sides. I hope this helps.
November 26…All is quiet. The birdhouse bees didn’t make it. I was hopeful this year because they came through the three month winter shadow last winter, but I must have lost them between October and late November.
December 18…I shot another photo when the weather warmed back up. Doesn’t look like anything is moving in there.
Empty comb at the front. I guess I can hope they are clustered somewhere back in there, but that’s just a sliver of hope.
The green tree hive is entering it’s third winter. If numbers mean anything, this hive is a survivor. With the sun so low these days the light can reach through the branches to get the bees flying relatively early. Often its the only hive flying. I’m always happy to see the bees flying especially after a ‘rocking’ big storm. This hive is totally intervention free. No mite strips, pollen paddies, or sugar water, it just keeps on going. It’s slightly above my height when I’m looking at it, so occasionally an incoming bee will alight on my ear. “Ooops, sorry I’m in your flight pattern.”
January 1, 2016…The pussy willow tree is getting ready to bloom.
1-1-16…Willow buds are swelling
More willow buds. “Hang on, little critters, It won’t be long before pollen is available.”
So I’m back to four hives. I’m a little worried about the Warré hive, because of all the moisture inside. I’m hoping the sheet of black plastic I tacked on three sides will cut the wind and moisture back. In the video you can see bees tossing out dead bees. I always think of that Doors song with Jim Morrison chanting, “Bring out your dead,” over and over again.
I’m a treatment-free beekeeper for better or worse. I can’t bring myself to believe that killing the varroa mites will solve any problems. I’m of the opinion that we will NEVER rid the bees of varroa mites. The bees MUST adapt, because eventually the mites will develop a resistance to the poison and then what do you do? I say let the bees adapt. Let the weak hives go.
I’m not feeding the bees anything either. I saw bees bringing in pollen into my Warré hive in December. It could be ivy or even gorse. If they can hang on just a bit longer, they will get pollen from the pussy willow blossoms. Jonathan Powell of the Natural Beekeeping Trust, also explains the risks of sugar very well at about 3 minutes into this you-tube video. “Studies have shown that sugar destroys the bees internal intestines and also it destroys a very particular enzyme call the P450 enzyme which the bees use to counteract some of the pesticides and toxins they find in the environment. So by feeding sugar, we may be averting a starvation if you’ve taken too much honey, but we are also damaging the bees.” And here’s another article about feeding anything can be detrimental to the hive. (including honey)
Read Full Post »