It’s been a long time since we saw the bees. And as bitterly cold January and February wore on, and on, and on … we often commented, “Man, I hope the bees are okay.”
We heard about bees starving all the way back in January because they burned through their winter stores quickly during the harsh winter. Because the bees are toward the middle of a mile-section taking a little trip to see the bees is problematic in the winter. Big problems call for big solutions – or at least a new sled to help us schlep all the stuff on foot to the bees.
On March 7 we made a point to get out to the bees. We were looking at a +40 degree day so it was time to put on our Big Boots and mush out there. Winter patties (carbohydrates + touch of protein) are a good late-winter foodstuff when the hives’ store of honey is running low.
We really didn’t know what we’d find. In 2013 the bees had put up quite a bit of honey even though the summer ended on a dry note. We also fed supplemental syrup to give he bees an added bump. But, what did the polar vortex do to our hives? We were relieved to find 4 hives full of bees and still some honey. The fifth colony, Lars, had fewer bees, but still plugging along. Most still had syrup from last fall still in the feeders! We put three patties and a small spacer ( to allow for room around the patties for the bees to move around) on each colony, to help through March – which is traditionally the hardest month on bees.
So, fingers still crossed for another couple of months. Meanwhile, we have the pieces-parts for two new hives in the basement, awaiting assembly. Hopefully we’ll be able to split a couple of our current hives to increase the herd.
And in case you’re wondering, we still have meads perking along in the basement. Hopefully we’ll have time to enjoy the fruits of our labors in the coming months.