20th May 2007

Day 9

posted in Our Hives |

Due to weather weirdness, it doesn’t look like we’ll be opening the hives to check for brood today. Sigh. We really do need to get to it tomorrow if at all possible, though! I want to make sure everything’s going well- although from the outside, it sure looks promising.

Today was a bit warmer than it’s been, and a lot less rainy, and the girls were out in force. Much coming and going on all 3 hives! Susan and Mary have been swigging down the syrup, too, both having gone through close to a quart today! Eliz. is a bit more moderate, though the level’s dropped a lot. This is not really a surprise; for the past couple of days the levels dropped hardly at all, and the bees weren’t stirring out of the hives, so I expect they were eating their stores- and now that it’s warmer, they’re exploring and/or foraging, and replenishing the stores with syrup as well.

We’re going to leave the entrance reducers in for a couple more days, since it’s still supposed to be getting pretty cold at night. This probably adds to the buzzing around we’re seeing, since there’s a bit of a traffic jam due to the smaller entrances!

I’ve joined a list for organic beekeeping on Yahoo, and it’s been interesting reading. I don’t think we’re going to be as hard-core organic as they recommend, but I’m hoping to learn more about organic ways of dealing with issues as an alternative to chemical ones- even if I don’t adopt them myself, or not consistently.

J found an article on colony collapse disorder that was blaming, among (many) other things, non-round hives. Now, the rectangular hives we’re using are based on a design that is, if I recall correctly, roughly 100 years old- AND was brilliant because it both catered to the preferences of the bees AND made it more possible to maintain the hive without damaging it (something not possible with the traditional skeps, for instance). So, I really doubt that’s much of a factor. Based on nothing but instincts and/or common sense, my guess is that it has to do with various stresses- from insecticides, from other pollutants, and from living a life unnatural for bees (like in the itinerant hives- bees do not wish to be tourists). These stress the hive and the bees, and make them more susceptible to the diseases, mites, and the like that they might otherwise be able to handle. Just my guess, though- gods know I’m no expert! I’m aspiring to educated layperson on the technical aspects.

-Amanda

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