Another Feeding


I opened the bees up again since it felt so warm out and it was sunny. I think my internal thermometer is broken though because it felt like it was in the high 60s but was in fact in the high 40’s. But the bees were out so I didn’t see a problem with opening them up.

I pour another 4 cups of 1:1 sugar water onto the frames today. I found the queen again, but there wasn’t any new eggs or larvae that I could see. I put the sugar water in the mostly empty frames on the edges of the hive and moved them closer in to the center of the ball they’ve made themselves into. They’d completely abandoned a full frame of capped brood and larvae (I think I mentioned this before) so I moved that to the outer edge of the hive to give the bees a faster comeback. That way they don’t have to clean that frame out until they’ve got the numbers to spare a few workers give the hive the thorough cleaning it needs. I might just scrape that frame clean and have them draw it out from scratch again actually. It’d probably be better for them in the long run.

The entire hive has a sour smell to it. I think it’s because some of the pollen stores got sugar water in them and have started to rot. Not to mention the inch of dead bees at the bottom of the hive. I took the main brood box off so I could shake off all the dead. I was leaving them there because I thought it might help with insulation, but there were so many of them that they were going to decay and cause more problems that anything before the bees could clean them out.

I feel really bad about their lack of food stores. There really wasn’t anything I could’ve done though. It was rainy and cold all last month. Stupid Ella Nina. This winter killed 70% of the roses in the yard too. Winter is far too long in this state. Xp

There were several loud bumblebees flying around though. I’d really like to make a nest box for them, but it’s supposed to be difficult. It’ll give me something to do though, so what the heck right?


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4 responses to “Another Feeding”

  1. Emily Heath says :

    Sorry to keep posting comments but have you ever tried using a rapid type feeder on top of the crown board like this one:

    They’re cheap and you can top them up quickly whatever the weather without getting the bees too cold. Hope the weather warms up soon for ya.

    • willowbatel says :

      Oh don’t be sorry. You’re the first person to comment on here in…4 months.
      All the feeders I found online were the kind that were like a frame and fit into the box. Everything I read about them suggested that they didn’t work too well and either didn’t fit the hive properly or resulted in a lot of drowning bees. The most effective (and cost efficient) method I found was just getting a big plastic bag and filling that with sugar water, poking a few holes on one side so the bees could access the water. You put that directly on top of the brood nest frames, making access to it easy for the bees and ensuring it doesn’t freeze because of the warmth from the bees below. I’ll definitely look into this new feeder though. As much as I love taking apart the hive to look at everything, I feel kind of bad about it.
      And thanks! It was up in the mid to high 50’s today (so about 12 C I think) but we still managed to have snow, hail the size of marbles, and some thunder and lightening. Washington is so weird.

      • Emily Heath says :

        Some of the local beekeepers I know use the plastic bag method too. I think most use one of the round rapid feeders on the crown board for autumn/spring and a slab of fondant in winter.

        You guys are having such bad weather! I visited Washington in November 2009 and it went from being really hot t-shirt weather to non-stop rain and crazy cold winds within a couple of days. It’s a bit like that in the UK too but we’re being lucky with some 25C sunshine at the mo.

        • willowbatel says :

          I just looked on the website you linked me to and this actually looks really simple. I’ve heard of people using glass jars turned on their heads, except if you make the holes in the lid to big then the sugar water runs out and isn’t beneficial. And the jar is too big to be kept under the roof so it’s a hassle and not as effective. This looks absolutely brilliant. I’m bookmarking this for sure.
          Our weather forecast was said to be snow and rain for the last three days, but it’s been relatively decent out. By decent I mean there’s been direct sunlight for more than an hour at a time.
          25c is SO warm! I’m jealous. It not going to be that warm here for at least another month. Curse Ella Nina. It killed all of my roses and a fair few of my hummingbird friendly flowers.

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