Sometimes I read the threads out here and feel like I am way to simple for keeping bees. That said... I love bees! So I keep trying.
I am becoming the primary bee keeper in our family, which has me a little excited, and very nervous.
Here's where I am now: I have 4 hives.
Hive 1) is from last year, a carniolan queen. 3 of the 4 hives we bought last year did not survive.
1a) the first of the hives that did not survive seemed to not have a queen. We got a new nuc and it did not survive either, right from the get go
1b) Hive 3 was just always week, but had a queen. This was combined with the bees from the nuc that didn't thrive. This hive died. When I
looked in it I would have guessed that the hive suffered from foul brood. Except that the dead larva did not smell.
So I'm not really sure what happened.
1c) In August we harvested 10 gallons of honey from 2 hives. The hive that had the fewer bees, produced the most honey. In October, that
hive appeared to be dead. I have not looked in it. It's depressing, it was probably all robbed out, so if there was something
contagious, the other hive has it too.
Right now hive 1 is alive in 2 deep boxes. I put sugar (sprayed with water) on the innercover in October. I can see the bees in there but they are not interested in the sugar. I'm worried that they are not thriving like the other 3 hives. But they are alive.
Hive 2, 3, and 4 are bees that we got out of a barn down the road from us. The owners said this was a swarm from 4 or so years ago, the other two hives were from swarms that appeared to come from that hive this year they were pretty new looking, and started hives in new spots in the barn.
Hive 2) Is in a Langstroth hive with a deep on the bottom and a super on the top. I fed them sugar syrup in August/September. Then in October I put sugar on top of the inner cover and sprayed it with water. They are eating the sugar. (Hives 1 and 2 seem about the same weight)
Hive 3) is in a 5 frame nuc box. I fed them a lot of sugar water in August/September. In October I poured 1/2 cup dry sugar on top of the frames. The cleaned up what spilled out the front, this nuc has a solid bottom, so the sugar just landed on the bottom. Two weeks ago I put sugar on the front of the nuc, spritzed it with water, and pushed it in to partially block the front. I figured that would help them stay warm.
Hive 4) is in a 5 frame nuc box. I fed them a lot of sugar water in August/September. In October I poured 1/2 cup sugar on top of the frames. The cleaned up what spilled out the front, this nuc has a solid bottom, so the sugar just landed on the bottom.. Two weeks ago I put sugar on the front of the nuc, spritzed it with water, and pushed it in to partially block the front. I figured that would help them stay warm.
I'm stressing about keeping these guys all alive.
Here is my tenative plan for the new year:
Feed bees January 15ish to keep bees alive through spring. We usually have a warm week (60 degrees) in Jan/Feb. So I would feed then and check to see if they are still alive.
Move nucs to Langstroth deeps during that week. This is my big question. After this warm week there will be little opportunity to move them as late Feb to early April can be pure rain around here.
April prepare swarm traps
May 1 put out 3 swarm traps. I'm hoping I can put one of the swarm traps in one of the log yards around here, as they usually bring them in. And I'd like to just start using bees that are 'making' it on their own.
Maples bloom starts in February. Pray for some nice days so the bees can get out and forage.
I am moving to foundation less frames. I'd like the bees to build their own comb.
Last year we kept the bees in deeps, and when they had put capped honey across the top, we started adding supers. That seemed to work pretty well.
I am trying to not let this be more thank I can handle, but sure would like constructive comments on my plan.
Thanks in advance!