Tuesday, 16 February 2010
I took advantage of the brief blast of sunshine last week to look at the hives and heft them - lifting the hive to see how heavy it is gives you an idea of how much honey is left inside for the bees. This time of year is critical as the bees are just beginning to enjoy slightly finer weather but there isn't any food for them so if the hive is low on stores they starve to death. I put a block of candy on the feeder boards of each hive and this hopefully sees them through to the appearance of the first food in the spring. The feeder board is placed between the main body of the hive and the lid and the candy sits on a hole so that the bees can get at it from underneath.
Of course the wild hive presents all sorts of problems. There is no feeder board with a convenient hole so the candy is placed pretty much amongst the bees. Needless to say getting it there upsets them (although I like to think they appreciate it when they realise what it is I've given them!) and they were getting just a touch irritated with me. I was only wearing the veil (not the trousers) because usually bees are quite sleepy at this time of year. Famous last words - there was nothing sleepy about these bees! Still, the job was done and hopefully the candy will help the bees through the rest of the winter.