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Author Topic: February thaw check and feeding  (Read 411 times)
tjc1
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« on: February 19, 2013, 11:56:30 AM »

Temperature up to 50 here in southeastern Mass. today ahead of rain and colder weather, so I opened the hive, put in a shim and gave them about 5lbs. of sugar ‘mountain camp’ style. As I opened the top to take off the insulated upper super I could feel that the top of the inner cover and the insulation were very warm. There had been a very few bees outside flying before I began, but on opening the hive I found the top of the super frames (I ended the year with two deeps and a super partially filled with honey) and the inside of the inner cover were thronged with bees, looking hale and hearty. The girls looked great! I laid on the newspaper and started spooning on sugar to encourage the bees on the frame tops to go down below, and then gradually added the rest of the sugar, spraying it after with a dilute sugar solution that had some Honey B Healthy in it from the summer. The bees were calm, a few flew; I had to put the inner cover down so I set it so the sun was shining on it, and the crowd of bees on it also remained placid. After the reports of so many hive failures since the fall I was really glad to see them looking so good (this was a spring package last year). I don’t know, though, if the fact that they were up in the super means that they are nearing the end of their stores or not, but I hope they can make it through to the spring and I'm glad I decided to go ahead and feed them just in case.
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tjc1
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« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2013, 12:17:52 PM »

I meant to add that the hive was down to about 85 lbs. weight, which is why I thought I should feed them.
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Vance G
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« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2013, 12:25:15 PM »

The sugar is good insurance and you can easily remove it and turn it into syrup when it is warm enough.  You may find your 'supers' full of brood now though.  Are the bees bringing in pollen in your area yet?
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2013, 12:33:26 PM »

85#s sounds pretty good especially this time of the year. Do you know what the empty weight of the hive is? Since your temps have been coming up, they should be moving honey to where they need it. If it was constant extreme cold they could starve with food an inch away but that does not sound like your problem.
Jim
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tjc1
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Location: Plymouth, MA


« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2013, 09:14:48 PM »

No outside activity for the bees yet here for a while, probably another month or more before the maples bloom. I hadn't thought that the queen may already be laying, but I guess that's possible in mid February, even up here. I had been thinking that once there was pollen available and it got warmer, I would reverse the deeps and put an excluder under the super hoping to avoid getting brood up there.

Interesting observation, Jim - maybe that's what they were doing up there today, moving food down to the cluster. The hive went into the winter at ca 96 lbs. which I feared was light. Don't know the empty weight.
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