Moving The Bees: Phase 2

I was able to open the bees today. It monsooned yesterday and the day before, with at least two inches of rain yesterday alone. Here’s a picture of my “lawn”.


It rained like crazy for a bit, which allowed the lawn to fill up with water, and then it stopped and the water drained out. It rained again and filled the lawn up, and kept the water level like this for about an hour. Our lawn is horribly compacted sand. We had puddles all through out the garden, and plenty of little streams where the dirt was washing away. I’ve asked my mom for a couple of yards of good compost to help improve our soil. Its horrible right now.

Anyway, I opened the bees today and was disappointed to find that they had collected very little honey. One frame had nectar curing on it, and a small pocket of capped honey. I found a smaller pocket of capped honey in the brood nest and that was all. Queen Samantha has not slowed egg laying at all, and there were 6 frames of solid brood present. Well, solid meaning there was brood from the top bar to the bottom, but it was awful patchy on some of the bars. I think that may mostly because the bees were emerging today, but it was hard to say.

I expected there wouldn’t be much in the way of honey stores, so I brought a spray bottle full of sugar with me, and sprayed it all over the bees. They didn’t seem concerned (or even interested, even though the sugar ratio was 2:1) that I was spraying them. It was kind of odd how little they seemed to care about anything I was doing, actually. And there were wasps all over the place. I killed 4 of them, but the bees didn’t seem to care about them at all. I saw one walk right into the entrance of the hive, completely unchallenged. Except for the part where I squished it as soon as I could.

I don’t have any form of feeder for the bees, but I’m definitely going to have to get one because these bees won’t last a week without flowers. I did see a few of the bees without any hair on them at all, so I assume they’ve taken to trying to steal from other hives in the area. This year was extremely dry it seems like. My mom and I missed the rain so much that we walked around while it was dumping. I had to change my clothes twice in between the breaks in the rain because I got so wet.

I’ll go and check on my aunts bees soon. I expect that they’ve done better than mine have because they’ve got a lot more flower options in their area. And there wasn’t a break in egg laying like my bees had to deal with. I think next year I’ll buy a queen when I split them, instead of letting them make a new one on their own. That hasn’t seemed to go well for me at all…

Oh, and I moved the Samantha’s hive into the lawn. We desperately need to get back behind the bee’s area and clean it out completely. We’ll also need to do something to make sure it doesn’t wash out over the winter. Whoever landscaped this yard did a horrible job. All of the tiers slope, and we don’t have enough plants to keep all the dirt where it should be. I managed to get one shrub planted this year (a clipping of the native Red Osier Dogwood) and some Borage and Sea Holly starts came from my internship. Which should help the bees next year after the plants are established!


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2 responses to “Moving The Bees: Phase 2”

  1. Emily Heath says :

    Beekeeping doesn’t sound easy where you are. Do you have entrance reducers on the hives to help the bees defend the entrance? Perhaps they have become despondent towards all the wasp attacks.

    • willowbatel says :

      It doesn’t seem like it should be this hard! They’re a strong colony so they should have plenty of food stored up by now. Some of their ailments can be remedied by me, but a lack of food source makes things very difficult.
      I do have an entrance reducer. I’l put that on the next time I open them up for inspection.

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