I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I know I did, the weather was wonderful (for me) and I got a ton of work done on the little things I have been putting off for so long.
Well the weather has been nice this fall, too nice in my opinion for the bees. We have had many days well above average. With these warm temps come active hives consuming honey they normally wouldn’t be consuming. After all they are flying but what are they getting? Maybe some water, but that’s it. Not only this all this flying early in the winter reduces their lifetime through winter…
No one really knows what this all means, but in my mind a warm fall can be death to already light or weakened hives. I know I have been checking on my 60 hives a few times, lifting the back and comparing “weight”, I need to buy me a scale… maybe next year… anyway most of my hives are ok, not great but ok with honey weight. While others have eaten all their stored honey and would starve before December if not fed. Some hives have a ton of honey, but it aint many of them…
The weather has been so crazy, I have even seen with my own eyes maples blooming and bees working the blooms!!! Come on Mother Nature really? Maples blooming in November?
The purpose for this email is just to make sure everyone is at least “tipping” their hives to make sure they are heavy, remember in normal winter we 50-60lbs of honey, but so far this has not been a normal winter and in my opinion that 50-60 lbs might be like 20-30 lbs left in the hive if not all gone…
It doesn’t take 3 seconds, so get out there and lift those hives… (make sure you take that heavy rock off the top first!)
I have been using fondant (300lbs so far) on my top bars with a spacer to feed my bees, I expect to have fed about 10 lbs per hive by April, so that’s not a lot per hive ($10 worth). To me an ounce of prevention is worth a ton. To me this also doesn’t have anything to do with survivability, yeah some will do better than others, but none had a huge surplus of honey, if they did I had pulled it and extracted it anyway… so to me this has to do with an abnormal fall and human intervention created a recipe for disaster.
Remember a few lbs of fondant or even dry sugar on newspaper is far cheaper than the loss honey next spring or the price and ramp up of a package to fill the deadout… to me its all about agriculture and taking care of your animals. You feed your cat after all and they can catch mice and birds right?
We are going to be getting seasonal weather soon this week, so that’s awesome. It’s about time!
Again I hope this finds you and your bees well and don’t forget to order your new hive equipment for next year now while most manufactures have free shipping and you have some spare time on those cold winter days to assemble equipment….