Feeding at Dusk

This is an update on the feeding process and my latest visit at dusk on December 13, 2017. After working on a few projects this week, I finally got a chance to check on the bees, on Wednesday evening at dusk. The forecast for that evening was for light snows and sleet and the weather was in low 30’s to high – 20’s.  The wind was biting cold and my fingers despite having on gloves froze quickly so I tried to be as efficient as possible while still trying to document the visit with my SLR.

Due to the temperatures, bees tend to cluster.  Definition of Clustering: The worker bees huddle around the queen bee at the center of the cluster, shivering to keep the center between 27 °C (81 °F) at the start of winter and 34 °C (93 °F) once the queen resumes laying. The worker bees rotate through the cluster from the outside to the inside so that no bee gets too cold.

Below are some key details from my visit:

  1. Bee Candy Results: The results of my no-cook bee candy (candy bar). It crumbled because I may have added too many drops of essential oil.  It smelled great but it was sort of fail. I am going to have to reassemble new bars.
  2. Removing Frames: I took out empty frames and added honey from other hives that failed. I froze these other frames for at least 48 hours at home as per the advice of other beekeepers to remove issues of wax moths.
  3. Second Hive Issues: In the second hive (this is a stronger hive) the frames were glued together (propolitized – propolis) due to greater activity by the colony in the second box. Due to the cold temperature and impending nightfall, I did not spend a lot of time so I left the sugar on top and closed the hive quickly.

Lessons Learned: 

  1. Bee Candy Redo: I will try a cooked version or use less essential oil in my no-cook recipe.
  2. Next year I will be better at: Working my frames more. Get into these hives more often to reduce the issue with propolis
  3. Time well spent: That the care and feeding of these bees has been worth it and I have learned a lot!

I will do another check soon. Over the last few weeks, I have been collecting equipment and beginning my winter rehab and preparations. This next few posts will be on these endeavors.

Michelle 🙂

 

 

Making Candy for Winter

It seems timely to start on candy making for the bees since it is December and when I went out this morning the ground was frozen. I found a no-cook recipe on the internet that seems pretty easy. I decided against a true fondant because I am not a skilled candy maker.

Here’s what you will need:

  •  A 5-pound bag of sugar
  •  A measuring cup – 1 cup filled with water
  •  A large mixing bowl
  • A mixing spoon or spatula
  • A medium size aluminum pan
  • Optional –  Essential Oils ( I added a few drops of lemongrass, Thyne, and Peppermint oils )

Directions:

  1. Add entire bag into to large mixing bowl
  2. Measure and then pour 1 cup of water into bowl
  3. Stir and combine water and sugar (1-2 minutes)
  4. Optional: Add 10-15 drops (5 drops each into the mix) as you stir

I attempted to record some video of this process for your enjoyment. I am just adding this element to the blog and in the future, I refine these into more finished products.

 

If you have questions, contact me. I will post another blog piece on placing of these bars into the hive.

Michelle

 

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