didn't leave 'em enough last fall
i tried not giving any syrup last fall to see if the bees could make it through winter without it.
compared to previous years when i fed, my hives this november were 10 - 20 lbs. lighter.
i spread some honey around three weeks ago, giving frames from the heavy ones to the lighter ones.
i went out and hefted them today, and i'm not comfortable with how light they are.
although there has been some foraging on the warm days, we haven't quite got to the first really good flows, and probably won't for a couple of weeks.
i'm not sure if they can do it on their own or not, but i'm not willing to take that risk. i have several exceptional queens out there and i sure don't want to lose them, or any of these overwintered treatment free colonies for that matter.
as much as i would rather not, i fixed up a yard feeder today using a 5 gallon bucket, and drilling 1/8" holes so the syrup can dribble into the little 'troughs' when the bucket is upside down. it's raining today, but tomorrow looks like a good flying day, and i'll be putting out.
lesson learned: they need to be heavier going into winter from now on. this means not harvesting as much honey or giving them a little syrup if needed, or both. next year's target for my medium/deep/medium stacks going into winter will be at least 85 -95 lbs.
beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf