Spring Buzz

The bees did what i would have thought impossible. After a month and a half of -40 C two hives look extremely strong (like 9 out of 10) and my walk away split from last year will likely make it. What incredible creatures! The day i checked on them it was below 10 C so i didn’t pull any frames but looking down in the hive there appeared to be plenty of stores. That being said i have never heard of bees dying from being over fed, so i did give each hives a protein patty, and sugar cake (see recipes below). I had never fed protein patties in the hive before and i may have made the mistake of peeling off the wax paper. Apparently most just throw it in and let the bees eat through it. I’m hoping that i won’t find a ton of bees dead in a sticky mess.

Without testing for mites, we did administer three apivar strips in each hive (1 strip for every 5 frames). We carefully pushed the strips into the cluster and i plan on readjusting them this weekend. Apivar should be left in for 42-56 days, so that puts us at the end of April for removal. We didn’t test because the bees were still clustered and we didn’t want to pull frames until it was above 10 C. We did have a fairly good idea of our mite numbers from the fall and because those little $h!t$ need capped brood their numbers likely didn’t increase much over the winter.

I will likely check on them once more before the end of April to remove the Apivar. Then early to miss may we will go and unwrap the hives. Temperatures need to be consistently warm before we take off our insulated winter wraps and insulated lids to ensure the first round of brood is successful.

Pollen Patty recipe: (taken from Beekeeping in western Canada 1998)

  • 1 part pollen2 parts hot water5parts granulated sugar5 parts soybean flower
Protein Patty (no pollen)
  • 3 parts soybean flour2 parts brewer’s yeastAdd a small amount of water to form a thick paste
Put either the pollen or protein patty between wax paper and store on the fridge or freezer until use.