I recently read a blog through Nature’s Nectar that mentioned that hives can still be lost at this time of year. The queen may already be producing eggs, which means the rest of the bees, which would normally be fending for themselves by finding honey in the hive, have to stay in one spot to take care of the eggs. If it becomes really cold over a few days straight (we have negative temps in the forecast), they might use up all of the honey in that area while taking care of the bees. This could lead to starvation, even though there may be honey nearby.
What do experts recommend? Giving some extra food on the top of the frames. I chose my fondant, which I already had pushed through the top screen last week. I wanted to make sure it was even closer to the cluster of bees, so I opened up the hive for the first time.
Isn’t she beautiful!? From what I’ve read and seen, a cluster this size shouldn’t have a problem surviving the rest of the winter. Before putting the cover back on, I put down some fondant around the entirety of the top frames.
The bees aren’t too happy about it and sent out many angry bees to let me know. I was stung on one small exposed spot on my wrist, then a few minutes later when I took off my winter gloves to put the sticky fondant away. The craziest sting happened 15 miles away. I had taken off all of my stuff and headed out to get some pallets in Maple Grove. As I was grabbing a new pallet, I felt something like a sliver poking my arm under my sweatshirt. Knowing how relentless some bees can be, i took off my sweatshirt and sure enough, a bee had found its way into my sweatshirt and traveled with me before getting frustrated and stinging me in Maple Grove. Thankfully I think quickly removing the stinger and the cold outside reduced most swelling.
So what now? Wait until spring. The bees took some cleansing (pooping) flights yesterday while they tried to attack me.
With Bees and Trees going official and my success with my remaining hive, I also bought two more packages of Saskatraz bees. That brings my new package total to 4 and could mean I’ll have 6 or more hives after splitting my current hive in May! Can’t wait!