Sunday, October 25, 2009

End of Fall Treatment

The day was lovely with a high of 13. The day before it was mostly overcast and under 10 degrees so when Sunday rolled around with a bright sunny warm sky I knew it was time to open the hive.

The purpose of this visit was to remove the Formic Acid Pads which had been in the hive for 26 days (a full brood cycle).
I'm sure the bees will be especially glad to have that stinky thing removed. The mite drops with the pad in were remarkable and I could tell it was necessary to ensure the hives survived the winter.
Next I put in the last of the AFB treatment, mixed with sugar powder. It's sitting on waxed paper. I also added some caster sugar which is just regular sugar but ground up into a really super fine powder.
I wanted to use this kind of sugar because I know that the icing powder sugar has corn starch in it which the bees can't really digest. I added it as a plain powder (pictured on the right) and I also made up a chunky paste with it by adding sugar syrup to the powder to make a heavy paste. I'm hoping the bees will feed on this on the days when they don't feel inclined to eat the cold sugar syrup sitting on top of the hive.
I was pleased to see Hive #2 were busy taking syrup from the hive top feeder. I could observe them through the plastic pane. This is the hive that Henry said needed feeding so it was a relief to see them eating.
I didn't see bees feeding on Hive #1 but that's not to say they're not. I got a little delayed to look at this hive because a school bus of university students showed up at the orchard for an info session and because I was there I was able to give them an impromptu lesson on honey bees. It was fun.
Hive #2 was more active coming and going from the hive than #1. I added the pink entrance reducers and waited around for a bit to watch the returning bees figure out the new reduced way of getting into the hive.
I've temporarily duct taped the reducers in place. That's because in a couple weeks I'll be adding the bee cozies which are to rest on the nail in the reducer. What I haven't figured out yet is whether I need to nail the reducer down to keep it from moving once the cozie is in place. Any suggestions anyone?
I noticed a few bumble bees, yellow jackets and lady bugs flying around. They could probably smell the sugar syrup, that and the warm sunshine would have attracted them. I put one bumble bee in my sugar paste jar for a bit for a little sugar snack. She certainly didn't mind.

The season is coming to a close as I prepare the bees as best I can for winter. We all think it will be a long cold winter like last year. I'll do my best to help them get through it.
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