Home | Selected Beekeeping Topics | Honey Bee World Forum | Diary Home | Diary Archives | Write me | Search
  A Beekeeper's Diary

<< Previous Page        February 2010          Next Page >>
Left panel on? Yes | No

An overwintering Styrofoam hive opened briefly for a glance
Over these frames sits a soft 6-mil black plastic pillow stuffed with a layer of one inch Kodel batting
The styrofoam lid goes over that, and two bricks hold everything down

Home | Current Diary Page | Selected Beekeeping Topics | Search HoneyBeeWorld.com
Diary Archives: 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011| 2010 | 2009 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 |1999
My Weather Station | Honey Bee World Forum | HoneyBeeWorld List | Contact me
Back to the top

Saturday February 20th, 2010
February past: 2009, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999
Honey Bee World Forum HoneyBeeWorld List | Diary Home | Write me

Mornings are foggy and dull.  I'm glad I don't have to drive anywhere.

Thankfully, the days are now much longer and the long hours of darkness more tolerable, but I am really wondering why I am sitting here when there are warm, sunny places and boats sitting empty in their berths.  I know the answer, though.  We agreed when we retired back in 2003 to move someplace smaller and closer to activities, but my wife soon forgot about that.  So, here I am in a 8,000 square foot 'house' (Actually an old school) occupied most of the time by one person, one cat, and a dog.  It is odd what people do for love, or is it inertia?

I really should go skiing more, but it is a long drive to the mountains and back.  I used to love driving, but have become more conservative about using up fuel.  I am quite amazed by how much people consume without thought.  My drive to Calgary and back last night used about five gallons, I am guessing.  Not only is that twenty-five dollars gone, but also a lot of resources consumed. That is the problem with this location: I am twenty-five dollars from anywhere, and a hundred from others.

By the way, have I mentioned here how Bell Mobility screwed me?  Probably not, but I promised them I would make sure that everyone I know hears how inconsiderate and exploitive they have proven themselves to be.

I have been with Bell about five years, maybe six... To be cont'd.

Sunday February 21st, 2010
February past: 2009, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999
Honey Bee World Forum HoneyBeeWorld List | Diary Home | Write me

One month until the spring equinox.  The days are lengthening quickly!

Dr. Joe Latshaw will present two Queen Rearing and Breeding Workshops in Alberta. 
* Lethbridge: March 8th and
* Edmonton: March 10th. 
Call Samantha at 1-780-415-2309 for info or 1-800-387-6030 to register

I looked at the scale hives today.  They look great.  I lifted lids and pillows and took a look.  Only one -- the four-high -- is not up to the lid.  The weight loss continues quite steady.

     

         

 

Monday February 22nd, 2010
February past: 2009, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999
Honey Bee World Forum HoneyBeeWorld List | Diary Home | Write me

I went out and weighed the hives again today, taking the time to look at some of the farther ones.  There is one I wonder about. There is quite a mess in front, but the bees look not too bad.

We have another four weeks until good flying weather and six weeks until there is any forage to speak of.  This is the time when the bees are growing old and are up against the odds. The next eight weeks will tell which hives make it and which do not.

I see my skunk is busy eating along the line.  She has not been scratching, and not eating the bees in the snow.  I am seeing bees in the snow as far away as several hundred yards, BTW.

 

Tuesday February 23rd, 2010
February past: 2009, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999
Honey Bee World Forum HoneyBeeWorld List | Diary Home | Write me

A day at the desk and a trip to town for groceries in the afternoon.  I'm spending too much time on BeeSource again.  BEE-L is picking up after a lull.  Aaron is away and I am riding herd on it.

I have several other tasks I am working on simultaneously: feed concepts, bookkeeping, organizing and planning.

Wednesday February 24th, 2010
February past: 2009,
2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

Honey Bee World Forum HoneyBeeWorld List | Diary Home | Write me

We are getting into some warmer weather.  The next few days should be warmer and I expect we'll see the snow melt.

 

Me: (referring to the scale hive chart) "One could assume that the spike before and the subsequent drop net out to what we would expect, but I have to say again that I just do not know. Maybe there is some important apian anti-gravity effect that has heretofore remained undiscovered because everyone has papered it over."

Bill (on BEE-L): I have one hive on a platform scale that I set up last spring. It has been very interesting and educational to follow (except for the unexpected hard drive crash that hosed my data in September). Anyway, from the pic I saw on your website of four hives on a scale, it LOOKS like it uses counterweights, like mine. I learned early on that water from rain (or snow) could get between the flat weights and sit there. It could also get down into the weight holder through the small hole into which the original balancing bits of metal were added to zero out the scale all those years ago (mine is supposedly about 100 years old). That water was enough to throw off the weight by a noticeable amount, making the hive appear to be lighter. Once the sun hit the weights and evaporated off the water, the weight came back to 'normal.' Lesson for me? Keep weights covered year round. Don't know if that's what happened there, but it is something to keep in mind. Sorry, if this is old news.

Me: Thanks for that. I knew it had to be something simple and probably to do with the scale itself, but could not figure out how, since there was no obvious way that could be. I learned something related when, in reconditioning the scale between the summer and this experiment, I broke off the thumbscrew. I thought little of it until I had to move the slider back to zero and add weight. At that point, things were off by a few pounds and it had me scratching my head for a few moments. Of course I made an adjustment and noted that there is an offset which will have an effect on totals, but not day-to-day readings.

That's what I love about BEE-L: Ask or ponder a question and answers appear.

Again, thanks. I'm not sure if that is the explanation, but it is plausible and I shall start covering the weights.

Readers will know that although I recommend feeding sugar in fall, well before the cold weather,  I do not recommend feeding sugar in winter, except as an emergency measure.  Sugar feeding in winter is hard on the bees -- it wears out the bees by  raising the hive metabolism and expanding the cluster to process the sugar.  As a result, the feed is just consumed with no resulting build-up at a time when the bees should be quietly hunkered down and waiting for spring.  Nonetheless, sometimes emergency feeding is necessary to save the hive.

If, after checking the hives and finding them near starvation, feeding in winter proves to be necessary my first choice is frames of honey, then fondant or candy boards, since they are much like honey and are readily accessible to the cluster.

Fondant is hard to get on short notice, though, so if frames of honey are not available, the alternatives are dry sugar and syrup. 

Syrup is hard to feed in cold weather, since it must be supplied in some form of container, and then the bees have to get to it through areas of the hive which may be cold.  Even using 'baggie feeders' requires the bees to walk up and away from the cluster and back. The moisture in the syrup can be a problem as well, and bees fed syrup in winter usually look pretty poor.

Another, better method is to feed dry granulated white sugar on newspaper over the top bars. (See photo at right provided by Bill Greenrose in NH).  This method is easy, since no special equipment or mixing is required.

Simply place two sheets of newspaper on the top bars and pour on some white sugar, then make a few holes.  Some beekeepers wet the paper, some don't.  Check back in a few hours or a day and see if you need to add water.  Don't overdo it, though and cake up the sugar.

A rim (right) or some way to raise the lid a little is helpful, but a sheet of plastic draped over and taped or tied around the edge will do the job, too.  Pollen patties can be placed alongside or under the sugar, as shown.

As with any winter feeding scheme though, there are some concerns.  For one thing, a cluster needing feed is vulnerable and providing more than a minimum of space overhead can result in loss of heat and moisture.  Losing moisture may be a good thing up to a point, but when feeding dry sugar, it is the metabolic moisture and heat from the cluster that is used to liquefy the sugar, so too much ventilation will be a problem.

Thursday February 25th, 2010
February past: 2009, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999
Honey Bee World Forum HoneyBeeWorld List | Diary Home | Write me

Finally, a heat-wave. If the weather-guessers are right, we will have above freezing daytime temps for the next week or so.

I opened a few hives this morning.  Popped the lids, actually.  It is hard to tell much, since some apparently small clusters may be just the top of a cluster which is farther down the hive, particularly in the case of the triples.  So far, so good.

I guess I'll have to start planning what I'm doing and getting things ready.

Friday February 26th, 2010
February past: 2009, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999
Honey Bee World Forum HoneyBeeWorld List | Diary Home | Write me

 

Saturday February 27th, 2010
February past: 2009, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999
Honey Bee World Forum HoneyBeeWorld List | Diary Home | Write me

I drove to Red deer to deliver Ellen's art show to the gallery.  She had planned to do it, but this cold has her feeling weak.  I've been going through two weeks of it, too, but am now recovering.

The snow is melting and there is water on the ground near the hives.

Sunday February 28th, 2010
February past: 2009, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999
Honey Bee World Forum HoneyBeeWorld List | Diary Home | Write me

<< Previous Page        February 2010          Next Page >>
Left panel on? Yes | No

Local radar and satellite weather charts

Three Hills Area Weather Forecast
Intellicast | Yahoo | Weather Channel
Webcams  | Banff  | Banff | Sunshine Village | Calgary
Satellite Pictures 1
Canadian temperatures are in degrees Celsius

allen's Computer Security Page
A collection of helpful ideas and links
Free Online Virus Scans
 Panda | Trend Micro
Free Online Security Check

Convert Currency | Convert Measurements
Convert Celsius to Fahrenheit >
Chart
  Calculator

   "If I make a living off it, that's great -- but I come from a culture where you're valued
not so much by what you acquire but by what you give away,"
-- Larry Wall (the inventor of Perl)
Please report any problems or errors to Allen Dick
allen dick 1999-2012. Permission granted to copy in context for non-commercial purposes, and with full attribution.

Home