Weather in the Pacific Northwest has been very mild lately, just this weekend we had temps in the low 60s and our bees were having some field days. With that much activity, but no local food sources for the bees I thought it would be a good to check on their food reserves.
We always add an Imirie Shim on top of the inner cover and then we fill the extra void with sugar. We had added the reserve food back in November and when we lifted the covers today we noticed that almost the entire sugar reserves were gone. We used up a 25 lbs back of sugar to add more sugar reserves to our hives.
It was good to see that all hives showed activity. We will check back with them in about 4 weeks.
Almost out of sugar reserves:
The additional sugar will not only prevent the bees from starvation, it will also help with moisture management in the hive.
April has started out cold and rainy, but last Friday the sun came out and it was a perfect day for another hive inspection.
With the cold temperatures and rain in the Pacific Northwest, it is critical to keep checking the food supplies. I have not added sugar syrup to the colonies yet, but I keep dry sugar on the inner cover to help them along during this rainy spring.
During the inspection I noticed that one colony is struggeling, the queen was mated in 2017, but she seems off. She is not laying many eggs and I found several cells with two eggs. I have new queens on order and I am just hoping that this colony will make it till the new queens arrive. The benefit of having multiple hives is that you get to help the hive along. I took a frame of capped brood from one of the bigger hives and added it to this week one. I am hoping that this boost of young bees will get them over the next two weeks.
I checked all strong hives for space to avoid early spring swarming, fortunately they all had plenty of empty frames left and I only removed a couple of queen cups. Looks like I will not have to worry about swarming until late April or early May, but by then the new queens will have arrived and I will split all the bigger colonies.
Dandelions are blooming in the ara and the bees are coming back with plenty of yellow pollen.