day to day / the bees

February Hive Inspection

January was a stressful month on the Lightridge Farm bees. Between the crazy weather and being tipped by cows, the bees had more than the usual challenges. The farm bees are still in my garage. Today was a balmy 48 degrees so I took the opportunity to take a peek. One hive has cleaned up from the upset and is doing well. I found the area of their cluster and they have plenty of honey to last. The other hive has been silent. When you keep bees, you learn their sounds. Their vibrations are a pulse. Silence is death. The loss was confirmed as soon as I cracked the lid off. Empty stillness. As soon as I pulled the top box hive, I saw the mouse nest. It was a cluster of gray feathers and down. A week ago, Boudreaux cat had left me a mouse offering in my yard shoes by the garage door. I’m guessing he beat me to the mouse. I had neglected to put up mouse guards and this hive paid the price. I won’t make that mistake again. The other hive is all set, mouse guards and all, to move back outside. They’ll stay in my home bee yard for now.
My two home hives are hunkered down. Both have a buzzing pulse. A peek under the lid shows a diligent mob of bees, feeding on my sugar offerings. Leaving a ring of granulated sugar around the inner cover absorbs dangerous condensation and offers a food source that stretches out precious honey for early spring brood rearing. The bees take advantage of it. It may have nothing to do with it but since I started this practice, I’ve had higher overwintering rates. I don’t have time for a scientific study, so I’ll go with my beek’s new superstition.

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