Sunday, February 27, 2011
Cold, Sad Days
So, I thought I'd update the blog, to let everyone know where we (the bees and I) stand for the year. Sort of a "State of the Hive" address.... well, the state of the hive is: Dead. Both hives died. I blame it entirely on my inexperience and lack of knowledge. I've said all along, I have no idea what I'm doing, and I'm just making it up as I go. I thought I'd just let them try to make it through the winter on their own. About a month ago, I decided to wrap them with tar paper, so the bees wouldn't have to work so hard to keep the hives warm. A few days after wrapping them, the weather was warm enough that I felt confident popping open the covers. The tree hive was dead, but the Yale hive was still kicking.
Earlier this week, I changed my mind about feeding, and was going to give them some candy boards. Today, I opened up the cover and there was no movement at all. Nothing but a bunch of dead bees.
When it warms up some, I'll pull the frames and start cleaning up the hives for spring. I guess I'll be ordering some new packages. Sarah and I were talking about trying Russians, as they are hardier bees.
One upside? I have plenty of good, drawn out frames for my 6 new packages to get them started. I figure start them with about six well drawn frames per hive, then the new queens can start laying right away, no need to wait for the workers to draw out comb. Either way, next year, I'll be doing things differently: wrapp9ing right after harvest, feeding starting right around New Year's, monitoring more closely, etc.
I think this may be the last entry before I get the new bees and start installing. Hopefully, this time, I'll get some video of the package installation for everyone to check out. Enjoy the rest of your winter, stay warm, and keep buzzing.