Yesterday and today have been relatively warm, with temperatures up in the 50s and lots of sun. The bees have been out in very small numbers, visiting the crocus that are up in the garden.
It was nice enough today that I took the liberty of making more fondant and going out to feed it to the bees. I was dismayed to find that they have dwindled down to just a couple dozen in number. They were huddling between two frames near the middle of the hive, and all the fondant from last time was gone. The queen is still alive, and eggs are present. I don’t know why they did so poorly, as there were two full frames of honey on the edges of the box. I moved both of them right next to the minuscule cluster of bees after I ‘wrapped’ the fondant around the two frames they occupied. I don’t know how they could possibly survive, but I’m hopeful. There are plenty of pollen and honey stores present to get them going, but I think their numbers are just few to stay warm if there’s another deep cold snap.
I took the Warre hive box off of the telescoping cover, since there’s no need to have the sugar water feeder on while the fondant is present, and it was empty. I don’t know why I didn’t take it off sooner. I replaced the Warre box with the metal lid that goes with the langstroth system.
In other news, I’ve been certified as an official apprentice beekeeper after finally taking the state test. I went to collect my certificate and the little badge/patch that comes with it a couple days ago, but the president of my local association had forgotten it at her house. I bought the journeymen level booklet and went home to watch a new episode of Supernatural. I didn’t bother looking at the test booklet once I got home since I had had a long day, but when I opened it the next day I was extremely confused by what I found. The Apprentice booklet had had nice neat sections full of text on whatever the topic was. This booklet is thicker and seems to be full of various regulations/laws surrounding beekeeping, and a couple pages of “suggested reading material”. This certification process is supposed to take a full year to complete, and tests for each section in the book are given individually. I’m kind of annoyed the president didn’t bother to explain any of this to me, especially since I’ll now need to go and find/buy a bunch of books to actually learn anything. Essentially I paid $20 for a reading list. Part of the certification for this level also requires “service hours” in which the beekeeper spends time educating the public about bees, educating other beekeepers about bees, tabling at a county fair or similar event for the local beekeeping association, or writing essays/being published in a beekeeping journal. There are about 10 different types of activities you can do, and every activity has a point value. And of course there are guidelines to how many points you can earn in each category, and how many hours of an activity count for a point and how many hours of activity can be counted for a single event. It’s honestly an extremely confusing mess of rules that make no sense and don’t seem to do much to make learning about beekeeping any easier. Needless to say, I’m not very excited about completing this certification process.