Last Look Before Winter

I drove home to check on the bees one last time before winter yesterday. White Hive is doing exceptionally well. I rearranged all of the frames so that the honey was primarily in the second deep box. They have reduced down enough that only 3-4 frames were left in the lower brood box. I left the honey super on for them because even though they filled 5 frames of it, but there wasn’t enough honey elsewhere in the hive for them to safely make it through the winter.

Pink Hive managed to not integrate properly, even after 3 weeks. This is the hive that had the trap out colony in the bottom box, and a very strong nuc that was supposed to merge with them in the top box. The nuc I put in the top box ate through all of its stores and all of the field bees had left so there was a very small cluster of nurse bees left onto frames with the original queen. She was somehow still laying eggs despite no food coming in. A single very solid frame of honey was located several frames away from the brood nest, which I removed to add to the lower box. The lower box, the trap out colony, was PACKED with bees. They’d occupied almost every frame, but there was virtually no food stored. The queen from the tree was still running around, and is laying eggs anywhere she can find an available cell. This means that the second a cell is available it’s being used for eggs, which also means its the most spotty egg pattern I’ve ever seen. If I was home I would treat this hive for mites, but I don’t think it will matter since they won’t see it through the winter.

Since the colonies weren’t concerned with merging properly I rearranged the frames so that they were both in the lower box, with a solid frame of honey the nuc hadn’t touched acting as the divider. Obviously this isn’t something I would ever normally do, but all of the bees that were on the two frames from the nuc were brand new nurse bees and won’t go exploring or look to kill the stronger queen. I wish I’d had time to let them steal their honey back from the tree, and I had the ability to feed them properly before winter. We’ve had an extremely hot, dry summer so food has been hard to come by for all of the hives. The colony seems really reluctant to look for food through. My mom (who has been watching the hives from a distance) has said the cluster is always visible when looking through the entrance, and at night they beard out much larger than the other two colonies. I took the second box off because it was all fully drawn out empty frames.

Green Hive has significantly less honey than White Hive, but it’s doing much better than Pink Hive. I rearranged all of the full frames between the two deeps on Green Hive so that they were only in one box. There were 3 frames with very small pockets of capped honey on them that wouldn’t fit in the box, and they weren’t worth keeping a whole second deep on for the winter. With the colony arranged properly in a single deep, I closed them up for winter. The second deep I removed and set a few feet away, along with the other empty deep. The bees can clean them up for a day or two and my mom will put them away for me. I wish I had time to feed them all properly. All of the hives could do with a good boost of sugar syrup before winter. It would be nice if it rained a little before winter so that at least something would bloom again. This heat has been terrible for flowers!

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