Yesterday was almost 50°F the bees got out for cleansing flights. Today was 55°F and they were out again, after the vortex cold spell (-25°F) for 4 days it was nice to get out to the bee yard to look around. I shoveled the snow off a couple of days ago anticipating the warm up so the lids would be clear. I had a chance to open some of them up to check stores and see how they are doing. So far they are looking great, lost a few with the extreme cold spell but most are looking good and we are excited to get ready for the bee year. I like to get started feeding in March so its not too far off. We have been getting our equipment built and have a lot of boxes and frames ready for the season. Need to start getting sugar ordered, looking for the best prices. We have a lot of pollen substitutes to mix for pollen patties to get early brood rearing stimulated. Looking forward to spring after a beautiful day like today! Hope everybody’s bees are doing great also.
It has been a very busy year, have not had much time to post this year. With the late spring and switching quickly over to hotter temperatures it was quick spring. Started about a month behind this year but have come through ok. Has been a year to feed most of the time to keep the bees going and they are looking great getting ready for winter. They say bees will only take syrup if there is nothing else they want, well they wanted it all year here. Only went a couple of weeks without feeding, mainly because I was too busy to feed. We have been treating for Varroa Mites and making up colonies from the mating nucs. We stopped selling queens early to use them for expanding our numbers. Have used my Instrumental Insemination equipment every chance I had and have got some good queens to evaluate, get through winter, and use for next year. Hope everybody has had a good year and get them mite counts down and get the bees ready for winter. Finally a little break coming…YES!
We all want to know what is going on inside our hives in the winter, and its usually too cold to open them. I have tried it all, from putting your ear to the hive and knocking on it to get the bees to make more noise. A stethoscope works ok but its still tough to hear unless you get it just right. I have a thermal image camera which works well but is tricky to get a good reading depending on where your bees are located, if the cluster is not close to the outside of the box or if your hives are close together you cant get a good image with the camera which can be very deceiving to tell exactly what is going on. They are good to tell the position and if they are still alive, but are quite costly. But I found a app called Fennex (I used a IPhone but there is many other apps also), which is a hearing app, that connects to wireless earphones and uses the microphone on your phone. So once you get it set up and connected you can push your phones microphone to the hive opening and hear very clearly what is going on inside the hives without disturbing the bees. It doesn’t give you a lot of information but you can hear bees buzzing so it gives you what you really want to know. Just wanted to share this as I’m always monitoring my bees to see if there is anything I need to do or improve to give the bees their best chance of getting through our tough winters. Hope you enjoy.
The bees are looking good going into winter, been feeding right along as I’m raising bees and growing my apiary. So I still have a lot of brood and the drones are just getting pushed out. So I still have a late oxalic acid vaporizing treatment for mite control to get done on a good day. I have my mice guards on(I like 4″openings), inner covers flipped(hole taped), rigid insulation over the inner covers(outer cover on top), and providing wind breaks at my windy yards. I don’t do any wrapping but I might try bubble insulation on some of my single deeps and nucs to see if it makes a difference.
Its a lot of work to get the bees ready for winter, but with our hard winters its important to keep good ventilation to keep moisture from forming. With our weather it seems it gets cold, we get 3′ of snow, and then it warms and melts. There is a steady changing of temperatures causing moisture. I have ideas of wintering inside a building using single deep boxes that are packed full of bees and honey, where you can control the temperature fluctuations and humidity. I need more research but I assume that keeping them in total darkness keeps them in there colonies if we get a winter warmup. Hope everyone is getting ready for winter looks like our nice weather is gone for now. Happy Beekeeping!
Cant wait to get some grafts from these new queens this week and see how they can improve my genetics in the bee yard. Have done some mite counts from the Minnesota Hygienic queens and getting zero mite counts with a alcohol wash the first week of August. I need to test some of my other colonies to get some comparison on the mite counts.
8/11/2017 Got some nice grafts from round 1.