Brushy Mountain Bee Farm Brushy Mountain Bee Farm, Inc.

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Candy's Corner

Hi Everyone!

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I didn’t write any last year but I promise I’m going to try to write at least a few times this year. I’m hoping that it will be all good stories but if you have followed my blogs in the past, you know it’s always an adventure for me.

I had my standard two hives last year that did well. I was able to harvest four supers of honey, which is way more than I wanted, but you take the blessings when you get them. I had one hive that I became concerned about around the first of October; the bee population had dropped quite significantly. I decided that instead of just moving them over into a Nuc, I was going to try out our Overland NUC Wintering Kit. This piece of equipment allows you to use a strong hive to regulate the temperature in a Nuc(s). A ventilated wintering screen (with a divider) is placed on top of the strong hive.

I went back at the first of November, on one of the warm days, and did a brief hive inspection. Things were looking good! There were two small “patches” of brood on two different frames that sat back to back, which is perfect for them to cluster around, and lots of bees. As the month went on and December rolled around, I did become a little concerned. I had customers coming in talking about how active their bees had been and I wasn’t seeing ANY activity around my hives. I had convinced myself that my hives were gone, done, over with. I decided a few weeks ago on a warm day that I better go and see how bad the situation was. I was being a little optimistic and carried some honey with me just in case they were alive and needed it. As I took the Inner Cover off, unhappy bees shot out the top of that nuc in defense mode! I was just tickled that they were alive. I gave them and the hive below, both a jar feeder full of honey and walked away. I typically don’t open my hives this time of year, but this isn’t a typical winter.

Unfortunately from what I am hearing, things haven't been going well for a lot of beekeepers. I have several customers that have lost over half their hives within the last 3 months. One guy had twenty hives going into winter and now only has one. How heartbreaking!!! The scenarios vary in reference to what everyone is seeing when they inspect the “dead” hives. Several beekeepers lost their hives due to starvation. Most of us are enjoying this mild winter we are having. I LOVE it for me but not for my girls. We tend to forget that on the warm days the bees get out for a cleansing flight and maybe forage around a little, they burn more energy. This leads to the bees consuming more of the winter food storage. It is very important to make sure that if their food supply is getting low, you need to supplement something back to them. I saved some of MY bees honey and have been feeding it back to the bees on the warm days. I also put some fondant on top of the frames, right over the cluster. The Wintering Inner Cover that we sell has been very popular this winter. You can easily make your own candy mixture. We have a great video on our YouTube channel on how to make it.

It's been a while since I wrote so there was a lot of ground to cover. I'll be back later in the season with hopefully updates on all my thriving hives (keep your finger's crossed).

See you at the Bee Farm!