Swamp, do you have your bees home now? I thought they were wintering at your local beeks place?
Yes and no.
My two full colonies are at my mentor's house. A friend of my mentor (I'm beginning to wonder if he's my mentor's mentor) had a small 8-frame nuc of probably two full frames of bees, some stores, a little brood, and a nice leather brown queen. He said he didn't want to feed them through the winter so he sold them to me for a buck a frame.
But to be honest, I think he just really wanted me to have bees at my house to "get my hands into". Both of their views of the nuc is that even if it doesn't survive then I still get some good hands on experience through this (mostly warm) winter. I've already done three full inspections by myself...barehanded and stung only once!
I've put the sugar syrup to them and they've been bringing in pollen from the camellias and
. They've got plenty of stores of sugar syrup and pollen and there's a nice patch of capped brood. I've seen a couple of beetles and they all failed the pressure test. Unless something drastic happens, I think I'll be hoping to hit the ground with three colonies to start with rather than two.
The bees I referred to in my post above are feeding in the middle of our two traffic-light town...about seven miles from my house. I have a small business in the middle of town and I'm fortunate to have a nice southern exposure that is shielded from the north (we had watermelons growing along the sidewalk one year at Christmas!<grin>). It would be fun to beeline them and see where they're going, but free time is in short supply right now...they leave the top of the garbage can (a little Sprite drink or maybe a drop or two of my mentor's honey dropped on top...from healthy bees) fly straight up the wall (18-20 feet up) go over the edge of the roof and head north. I need to be sure and not feed them, though, on the days they pick the garbage up.
Here's a small thread with a couple of pics of my downtown bee visitors:http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,35675.new.html#new