Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Our Bees in March

Spring is just around the corner here in Washington State.  Buds are appearing on the trees, the grass is starting to grow... a few flowers are peaking out here and there.

And the bees are EVERYWHERE.  For them it is time to clean up the hive after being cooped up all winter and start taking stock of the surrounding food and water sources.

We began winter with a top bar hive, with a pretty strong cluster of Italian bees, though a little light on food stores and a langstroth hive, with a much smaller cluster of Carniolan bees and hardly any food stores at all.  I fed both hives, wrapped them up as best I could figure out how and prayed that they would make it through winter.

I was very skeptical about the langstroth hive.

But the last few weeks it was the langstroth hive that was surrounded by clusters of happy worker bees checking out their surroundings in the returned sunshine.

I assumed, because their location was slightly behind a tree, that they were colder and that was the reason for their inactivity.

So I made arrangements with my husband to help me move the hive to sunshine after work.  We would use this opportunity to feed both hives more sugar cake to get them through until the flowers really bloomed around here.

That evening, together, we were able to remove the lid.... and what we saw was heartbreaking.  The bottom of the hive was piled with dead and dying bees.  There was no food stores at all..... and then we saw why.



A mouse nest.  The mouse had clearly eaten through several combs, fouled many others, and created a huge nest in the back of the hive.  The poor bees....

We gained some joy, when we stepped to the other hive to put in their sugar cakes, finding many active bees and some sugar cake remaining from the last feeding.  We closed up the hive for the night and discussed the plans to clean, sanitize and scorch the other hive.  Then we will place 1/2 inch hardware cloth over ALL bee hive doors.

We mourned their loss.

But with the sun this morning.... we discovered that indeed, YHWH gives, and takes away...



The langstroth hive is clearly ready to hit spring with a bang!

I quickly whipped up some sugar syrup for them to give them an added boost until those flowers appear.  I'm planting everything I can get ahold of.... and once the evenings warm up things should really take off.


They were SOOOOO grateful!

And another happy surprise....

A small party of worker bees hunting for new housing.


Is there a new queen in need of a happy home?  I am eager to oblige her.

Here is a couple short videos of their happy activity....



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