Friday, April 24, 2015

Spring 2015 - Hive Losses

I managed a peek at my beeyard on Sunday around dinner time. It was cold and windy. A winter day actually with temperatures around -4 Celcius. I know other beekeepers took advantage of a few sporadic warm days that we had to open their hives. Everyone that did reported some lost hives. It's hard to be patient in spring and sometimes the temptation can be to open hives a bit too soon. When it's still cold you can get some good info from looking at the outside of the hive, peeking in the upper entrance you may see bees converging there during the day time. Also, doing a heft of the hive to get an idea of the weight can let you know if the bees will be needing heavy spring feeding, or even emergency feeding. (They won't eat sugar water if it's cold anyway so only a candy board would help when temps are still too cold). When the weather warmed up I was able to check the hives. I didn't pull frames because I didn't want to break their seals since it was still cold. In the Pines bee yard I had 10 haves and 5 were dead. They were weak all last year after the move from the corn area. I think I had them in too much shade from the pines so in winter they didn't get enough sun to help keep the hives warm. I now plan to shift the 5 living hives more into the sun. At the Heeman's Garden Centre all 7 hives survived and are doing well. Two of them were weak but surviving. All the hives were bringing in a pale coloured pollen in a month ago and now are bringing in a yellow or deep gold pollen. I started medications last week but this week we've gone back into winter again.
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