Sunday, January 23, 2011

Juicy Bugs

Last spring when I opened the hives for the first time I noticed something.

My bees were big. They were kind of fat looking, but in a healthy way.

Like chubby toddlers I watched them hanging around on the frames and bars of the hives. The young ones would come out to fly--but they weren't very good at it. Not yet.

And they were bursting at the seams thanks to a short winter and quick and hot spring.

They gobbled their sugar water and pollen patties like well behaved children.

As spring moved quickly into an even hotter summer I noticed that the bees were looking different.

They were out flying and foraging. They weren't toddlers stumbling around when trying to fly. They were an experienced work force.

Like a prize fighter, they were fit and trim from all that flying to forage.

They'd lost weight while they laboured.

I think about them now as snow covers the ground and they eat from their stores.

Will this be a fat bee spring? I hope they aren't going hungry.

I wish I could crack the hive for a look, but with temps at -21 and windchill of -25, this is the coldest weekend we've had in southwestern Ontario.

I guess that's an advantage that beekeepers in warmer climates have. They can open their hives to check on the bees and give them supplemental food if necessary. (winter feeding has been a topic of discussion lately on the yahoo beekeepers' list).

Here in the cold white north, I make plans and resolutions for the 2011 fall/winter. I'll take the supers and treat much earlier. I'll leave them an extra super. I'll make fondant boards for them just in case (fondant candy placed on the small space on the inside lid of an inner cover).

I tick off the days on the calendar and think about ordering pollen patties, just so I have them on hand when that warm day comes.

Soon I hope.
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