ALL HIVES FLYING
I'd collected pine needles from the surrounding forests and set them to dry over our heater blower to use as insulation and moisture wicking in supers above the colonies. Last year the pine needles I used made for an inefficient feeding portal sticking to the pollen patties. I tried making a screen to keep the needles up but worried a bee would find her way in and not get out.
So I bought some natural untreated burlap and made pockets for the needles by stapling it to the homasote board I also use to absorb moisture off the hive during winter and that was so successful last winter.
As you can see, I'm taking the inner cover down to the tops of the frames and putting the feeding super on top of that. I'm filling that with winter food stores and topping it off with the homasote board insulated with a pine needle pillow for wicking moisture out of the hive:
|I made sugar candy for low moisture winter feeding following a wonderful recipe shared by a fellow blogger in San Francisco, citybees.blogspot.com but I used essential oils in Pro Health instead of vinegar. |
|So out to the hives! |
Here is what I found -Backyard Lavendar 8 frame that swarmed:
Here is the Fusha hive on Ferncroft. They have not finished the quart size zip lock of bee tea but are still interested. Some mold has grown on the pollen patty strips I put on the frame tops:
Here is the Gold Hive Italians that over-wintered last year with such success. This time the pine needles will not fall into the hive or stick to the pollen patty strips. They sucked their gallon of bee tea dry!
I've got my fingers crossed as I don't think my bees had much in the way of stores. I slaved over the stove making the candy and just filled up the inner cover with whatever they may need, but I really wish I had surplus honey to offer. Maybe in time I'll learn how to anticipate their needs. I'd like to find a good way to offer them water as whenever there is a mild day I always find some bees drowned or stranded near a puddle.