On Henry's visit back at the end of July he suggested that two trees quite close to the hives could be cut down to bring in more light.
At the time of his suggestion we were heading off on vacation so we didn't act on it at that time.
It's certainly fall now. On the drive out to the bee yard I could see that the sunny side of many maples were already turning yellow and red. At least it was a warm day (24) and although it was a little overcast it was still nice out (possibility of rain in the afternoon).
The bees looked pretty good in the morning. We arrived around 11:30. I had been noticing that the hives weren't getting much sun until late in the day and now in retrospect I wonder if that has contributed in part to some of the queen problems. Cold overcast and raining days maybe weren't helped because the hives would have been sitting in shaded moist cold air.
Dad brought his axe, hand saw and chainsaw. I brought my cup of tea, some rope for pulling the tree and my camera. Codie brought his muscles.
The $%^##W@*$ chainsaw (insert appropriate explicative) started but it began to smoke--something was wrong--and then after only partially cutting down the tree we stopped it. Then when we tried to restart the thing it wouldn't start. On the up side, we did get almost half the tree cut before the saw died.
So it was the three of us taking turns after that with the axe, and hand saw.
We tied a rope onto the tree and were set to pull it to make extra sure it fell in the right direction. The tree was only 1' from the hives so we needed to be certain it was falling away from and behind the hives.
And it did. It's always fun to shout, "TIMBER!"
We also took down a dead tree at the back of the hives. Codie did this by tying a rope on it and pulling it half down and then jumping on it until it fell the rest of the way. Yes, we're a little unconventional, but hey, we didn't have a working chainsaw and we wanted the job done.
The bees didn't appear too disturbed by all this. Around 2:30 I noticed that hive activity increased on both hives. I've noticed that around 3:00 the hives seem to get busy. I think it has something to do with the sun hitting the hives at that time. So now hopefully the sun will hit the hives much sooner in the day and encourage the bees to go out and forage more.
The other advantage will be the increased air flow in the area. I noticed right away that the air seemed more fresh because the foliage wasn't holding the humidity down under the leaf canopy.