Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A quiet month for the bees

Not much to report in terms of bee activity. They are not producing comb and honey quite as rapidly as we'd hope. An established hive would have surplus honey to harvest next month, with enough remaining to last the colony though the winter. Our hive currently does not have anywhere near enough to last the winter, let alone harvest. Last month Tom added a second box to the hive, hoping they'd start expanding their comb-building activities, but so far they've not expanded much, and in fact have been consuming some of the comb they built.

We are supplementing their nectar gathering activities with sugar water to help them build honeycomb more quickly. The mixture is a 1:1 combination of sugar and water, heated just enough to dissolve the sugar, but not to boiling as that would crystallize the sugar and make it inedible for the bees. It seems that keeping that sugar water full will be critical going forward.

When inspecting the hive today, Tom found the queen (good), a few hive beetles (no good - but the bees were attacking them so that's a good thing), and plenty of larvae, which means the queen is actively laying. So now we wait. Tom is attending a day-long bee seminar next weekend and should get some good information about sustaining and growing our hive. He'll treat for the beetles and hope we don't have any other infestations.