Monday, October 19, 2009

Early morning feeding of the bees

With Venus looking down from the east and fog shrouding the trees, I tramped through the dark and the frost this morning to give the bees some food.

It all felt great.

I had done a quick inspection of my three hives late yesterday -- the first for several weeks -- and found all three with plenty of bees. We have had way too much rain this fall, and I hadn't been able to open the hives for a while. I was wondering if the bees had survived.

They had, fortunately.

So now, for the next three or four weeks, let's hope for semi-warm, dry weather. I plan on feeding them at least through the middle of November, maybe even up through Thanksgiving, just to try to keep their numbers up as they head into the winter. Then I will plan to put food in a top feeder with maybe a grease patty or two and close the hives up for the winter.

One worrisome note was that I found small hive beetles in one of the hives. There's not much to be done about them at this point, but that could cause a problem if the hive continues to weaken.

A weather note: Out of 19 days in October, we have had only seven without rain. We have had nearly three inches this month, all of which has not done the bees much good. Any of the fall blooms run the danger of having the nectar washed out of them. If the next few days stay dry, as they are supposed to, we'll see how the bees feed and if they can make any stores for themselves. We have a patch of buckwheat behind the hives that is in full bloom, and I want to see if the bees go for it.

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