Saturday, January 22, 2011

Encouragement from Fellow Bee Keepers

It's been a long time since I posted as it's been really busy with the pigs, the chickens, the garden, then the cold set in and I almost completely stopped checking on the bees as it would have disturbed them too much during the freezing temperatures. I made sure they had some feed before the cold set in, on top of the honey stores they had made for themselves. We had a slightly warmer day at the start of January and some of the bees were coming out, doing some housework, bringing out some of the dead bees, good normal stuff; then I noticed there was nothing from the larger colony (Alpha). I decided to check on them and sure enough, they were all dead. The varroa seemed low, there were stores and extra feed available which I had given them, the frames didn't smell like it was foul brood; it just seems that they didn't manage to keep themselves alive over the very cold nights through the end of 2010 (it got down to -12c at least on a couple of occasions). But attending the New Forest and District Bee Keepers Association today gave me a chance to talk to some of the other local bee keepers about it and encouraged me that this happens and if they had feed and the hive was in good condition and they were disease free/very low, then I did what I could. I am just pleased the other colony (Delta) is doing well and although it was a good deal smaller than the colony I lost, it should build well when the Spring kicks in. It's good to see the Bee Keeping Association folk on a regular basis to check your thinking on these things and get some encouragement when things go a bit awry.

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