On Sunday 6th February I hefted the hives as usual. The new hive felt a bit on the light side so I whipped the lid off (just the lid) to take a peek – it was quite mild or I wouldn’t have disturbed them.
Lifting the card I use to block the ventilation from passing through the cluster, I saw lots of live bees! Yippee! Things are looking good for a second successful winter, and this year was a cold one!
Anyway, we have a pile of honey from the natural comb from last year so I decided to get some on as the girls felt a bit light to me (this is our first ever “home grown” swarm and as yet are still only on 5 brood frames). I’ve added a super and put a feeder in with some of their honey. A dribble went down the central hole to get them interested – just in case.
Hopefully the weather will stay on the mild side and they’ll be able to get up and feed. I’d rather feed them honey than fondant – that needs a lot of water to dilute just so that they can evaporate the water again! Doesn’t make sense to me.
While I was pouring honey into the feeder, a couple of bees flew out of our main hive, and took a look at me before nipping back inside the hive. Looks like we may have managed to get two hives through the winter.
This is our second year keeping bees, our second winter and it seems we still have beginner’s luck!
We may need to re-queen our main hive this year too, she’s red and now at least 3 years old. I need advice …
Queens are marked for the year they were born:
White Yellow Red Green Blue – calendar years 1 and 6 are white, 2 and 7 are yellow and so on, up to 5 and 0 which are blue. This year, 2011, is a white year and our queen is red, so she’s most likely to be 2008. Apparently after 3 years there is a strong possibility that she is running out of stored sperm and may start laying nothing but drones. Fatal for a hive.