This past weekend, I did a lot of observing of the beehives. Initially I put this info into my weekly update, but there was so much info that I decided to post a beehive update.
Here’s a shot of the entrance of the weaker hive. This is the one that got trapped inside last week. I reduced that entrance to about an inch. This week I put 2 more bags of syrup on the hives. One of the bags in the weaker hive started leaking into the hive. Luckily I read about putting the zipper part towards the edge of the hive so any leaks run down the side and not over all the bees. I was pleased to see that they are bringing in pollen. If you look closely at this shot, there are 2 bees going in with pollen on their pollen baskets. For those that don’t know, pollen provides the protein to the bees.
Here’s a shot of the stronger hive. Notice how much more activity there is on this hive. There’s more bees in this one and since they can have more guards, they can support a larger entrance. While I didn’t capture any bees returning with pollen, I did see them while I was sitting there. While this is a stronger hive, they still don’t have a lot of honey stored for the Winter. This means I have to feed this hive as well. I put 2 bags of syrup on this hive as well. Soon I’ll start giving both hives a thicker syrup that they can store easier.
While I was down there, I noticed a lot of activity under the weaker hive. Since this is the one with the leaking bag, I figured it was just bees recovering the syrup. But then I noticed some bees carrying pollen down there. This is kind of weird since I have screened bottom boards. The bees should not be able to get into the hive from underneath. I’m not sure what’s going on, so I will have to move this hive off the bottom to see what’s happening. I decided to fire up the smoker and see what’s happening.
So, I took apart the hives to see what was happening. I found a lot of pollen under the hives. The bees are able to climb through the screen, but it scrapes the pollen off of their legs. There were many chunks of pollen under there. I saw bees with pollen under there, I also saw bees eating the dropped pollen. I have slide in boards for under the screened bottom board. I decided to put the boards in for a couple of days. Since there was more of this happening in the weaker hive, I opened up the entrance a little.
I observed the hive for a bit after putting in the board. A lot of bees gathered at the rear of the hive and looked confused. There were also a bunch that landed on the landing board and climbed under the hive. I then sat at the front of the hive to observe the bees there. The house bees must have figured out that something changed. There were a bunch of bees fanning at the entrance. This pushes the pheromone out to the returning bees. The bees that went to the back or under the hive started going to the entrance. I decided to pull off the board until after dark. That way in the morning the foraging bees will go out the entrance, not out through the screen.
Oh, I forgot to mention that those 4 bags of syrup were completely empty. Each hive drained them. I have to get more sugar to make up more syrup.
That’s my update for the hives this week.