Saturday, February 20, 2010

February Peek

An unusual day in Asheville area beekeeping. Warm enough for the bees to fly about, but with snow still on the ground. It has been a strange winter. We've had snow on the ground every day since December 18, 2009.
The sun has finally come out after a long cold spell. The bees seemed estatic to come out and buzz around a bit. We decided to peek in the top of both hives and check to see how things looked.
The hive next to the garden fence (the one with snow in the background) is the hive we started from a nuc last spring. When we looked in, there was a nice cluster of bees (pictured above) on the top honey super. From what I could see without lifting any frames, they still have plenty of honey for the moment in this top super. Plus, this hive smelled wax and honey. One of my favorite things about keeping bees is the smell of a healthy hive.

The second hive is our ultra-combined hive. In 2008 we combined our original two hives, and then last year we combined again with the swarm hive we caught in 2009. There are far fewer bees flying out around the entrance, so I was surprised when I popped the top to find a good sized gathering of bees, pictured immediately above. We're feeding this hive bottles of honey from our own bees through the mason jar feeder. We'll do that until our honey runs out and then feed them with sugar water. It looks like they just might make it.