My intent has been to be a bee keeper, not just someone with a hive or two sitting down the hill in an electric fence enclosure. These bees came to me via local purchase in the spring and were diligently set up with the idea of being successful this year. Then bursitis in my left shoulder, followed by a ruptured bicep also the left (my dominant side), then the heat. The bees have basically had to fend for themselves, though I did do one hive inspection, finding old larvae and low population in one hive and no evidence of the marked queen, and new and old larvae and much higher population in the other hive, but again, unable to find the marked queen. I closed them up and hoped that the first hive had made a new queen before the marked one took off with her helpers.
Yesterday, my bee keeping, spinning friend offered to come over today and help me do an inspection. Walking up to the hives, we weren’t hopeful with the first hive, but found eggs (which I can’t ever see), young and older larvae, capped brood, some honey, and some stored pollen, but not enough. The amount of brood is hopeful that the new queen is doing her duty to build up the population before it gets cold. The second hive is thriving. We pulled a lot of drone larvae off for the chickens, it is about time for the workers to kick the drones out anyway. We pulled the queen excluders, and decided that since there isn’t enough honey stored for winter, that I should begin feeding them 2:1 syrup that they can cap and store for winter. Next week, it is supposed to be cooler, so we are going to treat both hives with Formic acid pads to kill off any mites before it gets cold.
Not a single photo was taken today, but the hives are set up with an empty box on top to hold two quart jars of syrup per hive. A need to purchase a 20 lb bag of sugar on the list as I used all that was in the house. Four quarts of syrup are cooling on the counter and I’m waiting the the thunderstorm that came up to pass so they can be taken down and put on the hives.
After we were done, both hot and sweaty, we visited over a cold lunch of Quinoa salad that I had made this morning, then picked her a few gallons of apples to take home. Though it wasn’t as hot as the past week, it was still plenty warm in long sleeves, long pants, boots, hood, and gloves.
My appreciation of her help can’t be explained enough. With the difficulty of lifting the heavy boxes and the inability to see the eggs in the cells, it is great to have her younger eyes and greater strength.