Not much going on with the bees lately….it’s winter and they’re busy gathering up the last of the available pollen and when it’s really cold, they’re hibernating. So for December and January, you don’t do much with them except make sure they have food (sugar cakes) and water.
Last weekend, I created insulated hive boxes for them because we were having an issue feeding them sugar cakes and still having enough room for the lid to fit securely on the hive. So, we took a medium box frame, added some corner ledges to it, then placed a piece of 1″ foam insulation onto the ledges. We wrapped the foam with plastic so the bees wouldn’t try to eat it. Doing that gave us about 2 inches of space vertically to put sugar cakes atop the frames and still put the inner cover on (for ventilation) and then the outer cover on top of that. Good thing I did it when I did too because last night (Saturday night) a cold front came thru and it got brrr cold today! It’s been in the mid to high 30s overnight for the last couple of weeks, so hopefully it’s been keeping them toasty warm.
I went out there today to take a peek and see how they’re doing and to check if they needed any more sugar cakes. I took off the outer cover, the inner cover, and then pulled up the insulation. Guess what? They were still there and looked fat and happy 🙂 I have these big fears that one day I’ll go check the hive and they’ll all be gone, so my first sign of good things is that there ARE bees in the hive. They were crawling all over the sugar, so I’m guessing they like it. I shut hive 1 and went on to hive 2.
Hive 2 is the one with the new queen, Kona. We weren’t sure how much good she was going to do us since we got her so late in the year. But, when I opened hive 2, I could see that there were more bees in there. They were all pretty low key because it was cold, but I’m sure that there were more bees this week than last, which is what we were looking for. HURRAY!
Next step is deciding what to do for the spring. If we want more bees, we have to order them now. So we think we’re gonna get a new NUC of bees. If hive 2 doesn’t make it overwinter, then we’ll replace that hive with the new NUC. If hive 2 does make it thru the winter, we’ll setup a brand new hive and we’ll have 4 beehives.
Sorry I didn’t get any new photos today, but I didn’t want to keep the hives open due to the temperature, plus I was trying to get it done before the rains started again. I’ll get some next time I’m out there.