February Update

There isn’t much going on that I can be involved with right now. It’s generally too cold or windy to get in there. One thing I wanted to check on was the food situation. I had placed a container of sugar syrup outside during our warm spells and they completely ignored it. But when I peeped in a week ago I saw they were at the top box on a very cold day…so were they eating through their food?

I went in last Tuesday because it was going to be in the low 60’s and was worried about them. February and March are frequent “death months” for beehives.

Melissa had 2 empty supers still on them (from earlier feeding) and so I took those off. They were very clearly in the bottom box, when I took off the top box, which was still full, I found a very nice cluster on the bottom box. I didn’t dig any deeper since it was very windy and I didn’t want to chill them too much.

Then I went into Demeter and found several hive beetles hanging out in the empty cells of the drawn honeycomb. I squished those and pulled off the top supers, very heavy and from what I could see, still full. I found a very good sized cluster on the bottom box:

Both hives were very active. They each had an entrance reducer and the entrance had been clogged with dead bees. Normally the mortician bees were able to manage but I think there were so many bodies that managing became too difficult with the added challenge of a mesh covering:

Stuffed with bodies
All clear

It was very interesting to see how many more bees came out of the opening once I took away the entrance reducers, they poured out either enjoying the extra space or the absence of bodies. On Demeter there was still a small space between the mesh and the hive and the bees were using that space but I decided to push the mesh down to keep all of the possible critters out. The bees were a little annoyed. I plan to look at them (just a quick glance) in the next few weeks. At one of the beekeeping meetings they suggested just blowing on them to hear them buzz and know they were still alive.

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