The Bee yard Report
I've always been amazed at the trash my mind retains.
In my General Science class as a high school freshman, we had
the story of Archimedes figuring out the principle of buoyancy
while taking a bath. According to the story, he ran into the street
crying "Eureka". In our juvenile minds eye, we envisioned
him doing this naked. So, you say, "What does this have to
do with anything?". Well, as I went through my bee yards
last week, I felt like crying, "Eureka!!!!". The bees
were alive and looking good.
I've seen about 300 colonies and my death loss looks
to be around 5%. I haven't wintered this well since the late 80's.
Our normal death loss is 15 to 20%. Then there is usually another
5 to 10% that is either queen less or dwindles down to nothing.
About half the colonies I looked at had a box full of bees and
were spread out nicely on the inner cover. I had to really smoke
them to clear out a spot to put the pollen patties. I was surprised
to see a few drones.
Why were we successful? Are we good or lucky? Maybe
we are good AND lucky. There were some things that worked in our
favor. Mite count was low. Under 5% in some of our yards. The
fall was very mild with pollen coming in until mid November. We
also fed heavily. Most of my bees are Carniolans but I couldn't
get enough queens last spring. I wound up with about 40 Italian
colonies. We put six gallons of syrup into those colonies before
we got them plugged. It seemed like the syrup just went into the
air. Most of the Carniolan colonies got 2 to 4 gallons. I figured
my cost per colony to be between $10 and $12 by the time strips
and labor were figured in. That's a lot of money, but the up side
is that a lot of these colonies should split three ways. My next
problem will be, "What do I put them all in". That's
the kind of problem I like to have.
We did wrap our bees but I think the insulation
piece under the lid is the most important. The wraps are mainly
to cover up the holes and bad joints in my equipment. It keeps
the wind out. Some of my equipment is low quality at best. I have
a friend who described to me some bees he had seen along the road.
He said, " I knew they weren't yours. The equipment was too
Here's hoping everybody has a good spring.
Submitted by Phil Ebert