Saturday, January 19, 2013

yay, bees!

Today was a picture-perfect January day, from the point of view of a beekeeper. Temperature in the low sixties, sunny, no wind to speak of. Ben headed out to the Ridge around two to do some work, and gave me a ride.

I lugged the cedar bench over by the front hive, though as it turned out, I did not remove any frames and didn't really need it. Kay and I had left four frames in the top box of three. The first, in the center with open space in front of it, had an overgrown lump of comb projecting into the space, and some stored honey. The next was quite heavy and pretty full. The third had some honey, and the fourth, by the hive wall, had not very much. I was able to look down at the frames in the second box, and I could see quite a lot of capped honey and bees. So I concluded it was doing OK.

In the backyard the hive also has three medium boxes, ten-frame rather than eight. The top - the cut-down deep with silver paint from my first hive, contains 9 frames. I recall that some were just empty frames in October. Not so now. The first is an almost completely built comb, with the inner side capped with honey. The second was HEAVY -- full of honey on both sides. On the other (east) side of the hive, the situation was about the same, not quite as much honey. I tried to look down to the frames below, and could see capped honey and bees down there too.

If there is a day even warmer next month, I will try to get the boxes apart and see what's happening on the brood frames. Need to make sure there's room for the queen to lay down there. If there is brood, I may need to feed some pollen substitute. Also I am concerned that the back hive still may have an empty box on the first floor.

The winter honeysuckle is beginning to bloom, and a few bees are working it. But what is the source of all that honey they have capped since October?

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