The Bee Yard
We checked candy boards. Some were completely empty. Most were about half finished. It all depends on the size of the hive, how much honey they had stored, and how cold the weather was. We did not make a lot of extra boards this year. Time just ran out on us. We are hoping that Spring will get here earlier then later and we can start feeding sugar syrup. We had starting to feed pollen. The longer days kick start the queen into making more bees. They start early to make sure the new bees are mature enough to fly and gather honey or pollen when the weather turns warm.
A couple of hives were already building comb on the candy boards. It is a little early but a sign of new bees. A bee’s wax production matures around 14 days. In those hives the queen started production very early and there are a lot of new bees to make wax.
We have lost 9 more hives so far this year. We will need to order 15 packages to keep with the same number of hives as last year. The prices are out and everyone is selling packages. We will keep an eye on things and update our order if needed before arrival.
We were pooped on a lot when we were checking bees. These bee jackets were clean before we started. Yuck!
At the height of the beekeeping season in 2018, we had 59 hives total. We lost 9 hives before winter, mostly due to queen issues. Now after we checked, we found we lost 6 more hives.
We switched out 11 boards, and boosted some hives with chunks of candy board that fell off another board. We had just enough boards for this round. We may have to make some more, or make soft fondant sugar if it’s still too cold to feed liquid syrup.
The bee packages usually come at the end of March. We have to make sure the hives with dead outs are cleaned up. Double check that our equipment is clean and in good working condition. Make sure everything is set up and ready to go.