-Posted by Isaac
What a difference a week makes.
We've gone from this:
And what a mood shift! For the bees and beekeeper both. It's amazing what twenty degrees can do for one's outlook on life.
This week I got the lead out. Hustling along, checking up on almost everybody.
At first, with temps still in the 20's, just feeding.
This was the second round on the patties. (AP23 Winter Patties from Dadant, in case you were wondering.)
The first round went on before that long lasting arctic blast made us miserable. Maybe only 10% of the hives actually got a patty. If I can't see the cluster because the bees are way down beneath their winter stores, I just move on to the next hive.
After three weeks of nastiness, many of the hives had eaten their way upward. At negative temps, hanging on to life takes a lot of calories.
They are higher now. If I can see bees, they get a patty.
Or two, or seven or eight. Some of these monsters are looking hungry.
This round, maybe 90% of the hives got a least something. Whether they needed it or not. A few dollars of food insurance is not a bad idea. Especially when we're still looking at two months of winter.
And in case you were wondering, no, I don't just throw it in there. A little smoke and a few sticks keeps the squashing to a minimum.
The bees seem to like the patties more than their own honey. Quite a few looked like the photo below- the food from round one had been completely eaten, but their honey stores were left untouched. This hive still weighed about 90 lbs.
I don't know, it must be good eatin'. I like to take a nibble myself now and then.
As the temperatures climbed and the clusters expanded, it occurred to me that one more shot of oxalic vapor couldn't hurt. The hives are just barely beginning to brood.
Just hoping to clean up any mite trouble I may have missed back in November. Was I a bit early on the first round of acid?
It's going to get cold again. Looking ahead at the weekend weather, we basically were given a gift-- three days of heat. In turn, that meant three days of work. Round two at breakneck pace. A couple of those days extended right on into the night.
Which was fine by me. Enough already of the bad singing and two-bit philosophy. Leave that to the amateurs...
We're professionals here and we've got bees to worry about!
I finished up this afternoon with the last of the oxalic, and it hit me that I've probably only worked thee or four days in the last month. This short but intense stretch was about it. Whew, tough gig this beekeeping.
I'm ready for a professional vacation.