Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Open Air Feeding and Our Log Hive

We have had a dry summer this year and as a result, some of our hives are very low on honey stores. I don't like to feed them unless it's really necessary OR when they start robbing my neighbors hummingbird feeders ;0). I've tried all sorts of ways to open feed and this is the best one I've tried. All the others tend to kill more bees by drowning and that breaks my heart! SO, I bought some sponges of different sizes, rinsed them really good, mixed up my sugar syrup water and soaked the sponges in the syrup. I then placed the sponges in various containers, the top of my birdbath, saucers, etc. It needs to be shallow so the bees can get out safely. I don't fill the containers up because if too many bees come in for a drink they'll get stuck in the syrup and drown, that's another reason for the sponge, it gives them better footing, so to speak. These also need to be placed out of the way of human/animal traffic, because it can get very "bizzy" with "beez buzzin" every which way! They won't set out to sting you, they'll just bump into you because they're so "bizzy" ;)

All it takes is for one little bee to find it and then the "wiggle dance" tells them all. I'm sure that today there will be so many bees on these sponges I won't be able to see it! I'll post more pics.....
Before long they are happy with their find.......well, until the blooms start again. I'm sure they would much prefer Natures nectar over this.....but sometimes when you're hungry.....
I want to add that we left a super of honey plus what they had in the deep brood boxes, on our hives this spring. I don't/won't pull all of their honey because our summers here are just as bad on them as the winters are. If we don't get honey, well, we just don't get any! The health and strength of our hives is more important to us than getting honey. I know so many keepers that have lost hives because they pull to much honey from their bees then the weather changes and the bees suffer. That's just sad to me!

These girls are our newest addition. A nearby city was going to cut down the tree this limb was attached to. The entire tree was hollowing out and honeybees had taken up refuge in this part. A fellow beek was called out for the job, but he didn't want to over winter them. My husband told him we'd take them so they wouldn't be killed. We sealed the cut end (containing the most bees) with a board.
The pic above is the top, it still has enough rotting insides to naturally seal this end. We will close it up before the coldness of winter arrives. They have two entrances/exits in the knots. I was really worried about them and was contemplating on removing them from the log and into a bee box. It was late when we got them home and had to seal them, and at the time we didn't notice (or couldn't remember) how their comb was facing. I was worried that the comb was laying on it's side and all of the brood, eggs, honey, etc. would fall out.....or the bees couldn't get in between to care for things.....and then an even bigger worry (which I'm still worried about) the Queen! So we went back out and opened them up and they are fine, the comb was a little off so we straightened them up...but about the queen issue, I can't get inside so I still don't know how she is, I'm just hoping they had enough eggs that if they need(ed) a new queen they can draw one out.

This last pic is of their main entrance, they are doing really well and bringing in lots of pollen. They are a very strong and sweet colony, a wonderful addition to our bee yard!

Until next time....