Greetings fellow beeks!
We've been trying to keep bees here on our small homestead for about three years now with varying degrees of non-success Only ONE year did we have a colony survive through winter and begin the spring with anything resembling a 'hive' of bees We lost all three hives last fall (two Langs, one TBH) and weren't going to start bees again this year, but Providence intervened and we have a 3# package of small-cell bees in the TBH which we ARE feeding with cane-sugar syrup (IS there a 'natural' way to adjust the ph to be more like honey??)
It is our desire to get to the treatment-free stage at some point, and recognize the very term means different things to different peeps (or beeks as the case may be ); for us, we'd like to NOT feed anything (syrup or pollen) unless absolutely necessary. It seems (to us) that starting a package could be one of those exceptions because, frankly, NO bees means treatment-free by default ... we'd like to HAVE some bees for long enough to make an informed decision on how to move forward. Hence the subject line and, after all this typing, THE question;
How do we get this new start-up of bees through the first, critical year of build-up?
Thanks in advance for your kind advice to some pretty new beeks
Joseph (Pamplin VA zone 7b)