Saturday, December 29, 2007

Status Quo

Again, a warm day (low 60s, overcast/drizzly)so we went into the hive. Things were not very different from a few weeks ago. The queen seems to still be laying fine but only in the old comb. She does not seem interested in using the new comb at this point. This is probably not a concern at this point since she is only laying a maintenance brood. Once "spring" starts she will probably jump over to the new frames (fingers crossed). The bees continue to pull new comb on the other frames storing nectar and pollen (picture below).

We did notice that the bees were not taking much of the syrup (almost none since I refilled last Friday). This could be because the frame that is now holding the brood was off center, in the box, and not under the hole in the inner cover. During the cold weather we have had, they probably did not want to move that far to get the syrup. So we moved the brood frame back to the center this time before closing.

Speaking of "spring", the bees will probably start building up the brood size well before spring actually arrives - as early as January/February - i.e. soon!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Well the girls did not do well on their test. Remember we split the brood frame with hopes that they would move the brood to the two new center frames. Well, they had other ideas. Unfortunately, it looks like they gave up on one of the brood frames and left the brood to die. My mentor said the brood were "chilled" meaning that they got too cold during the recent cold snap. This happens when it just plain gets too cold, or (probably in this case) when there were not enough bees to cover two separated brood frames and so the bees decided to just stick with one. Obviously, this is bad in the short run as we have lost some baby bees. :(

Also of concern is that the queen is still not laying in the new comb. She still appears to be active in the one remaining brood frame(yeah) but in none of the new ones. If she doesn't figure this out, we may be stuck with only one frame of brood over the winter, which would probably not be enough to maintain the hive.

The good news is that the bees are still pulling new comb pretty well and filling it with honey and pollen for the winter. Below is a picture of the new comb with some honey and pollen packed away.

In case anyone cannot picture the mason jar feeders - here is what they look like. Just fill-um with sugar water and turn them upside down over the inner cover hole.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Life after Death

So I went out early this morning. It was still cold and bleak and I took this picture of the death porch :(

But, by the afternoon it had warmed up, even the sun came out briefly and walla! the bees were out and buzzing around. Very soon they had cleared the porch of their dead compatriots. Interestingly they did not just push them off of the porch but rather picked them up and carried them to the ground.

I replaced the pint feeder, it was empty, but the quart jar was still half full. They have certainly slowed down on the feeding. It will be interesting to see what they do this week since the temperature is supposed to stay pretty mild.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


A dozen or so dead bees on the front porch this morning :( Hopefully this is just normal attrition. They have almost stopped taking syrup. Looks like some warmer weather coming this weekend - so we'll take another peek.