Saturday, April 12, 2014

First Day of Beekeeping Season of 2014!!

This past winter was really tough in NYC. It snowed and snowed and snowed. Here's a photo of the backyard where we keep two of our bee hives. All the way in the back are the two hives covered in about a foot of snow. This past winter, we did things a little different. We wrapped our hives in tar paper to keep the moisture away and added a box of cedar chips to help wick away the moisture. We did this to give the beehives the best chance of surviving the brutal winter. Last year, they died from too much moisture and mold grew rampant.  Bees can survive the cold but they can't survive the moisture which leads to mold.
Last Saturday, the temperatures finally got up to the high 50s so we could finally open the hive and remove all the tar paper and cedar chips. We removed the tar paper and the bees were already coming out to enjoy the sun! We knew right away they had survived the winter of snow, 7F degrees temperatures and wind! Woo hoo! They survived the Polar Vortex!!! One of the coldest winters we've had in a long time. This method really works!
We opened the lid and was thrilled to see bees! Lots and lots of bees! They were so active! They ate through all of the 5 pounds of sugar we had left for them in the winter.We looked through the frames and saw that the Queen had been busy laying brood! She has survived! We literally jumped for joy!
We were even surprised to find that they had even started making honey!! This is so incredible!! There are some flowers blooming so they must be already foraging on the spring bulbs throughout the neighborhood!
We opened the white hive and so that it too had survived! Honeybees everywhere!  Unfortunately, there was no sign of the Queen. Frame after frame it was empty of brood. We decided to move some fresh brood frames from the green hive and transfer them to the white hive in hopes that the hive will make a new queen out of the new brood. We know that this will work because we successfully raised Queens last year using this method.
Here is my beekeeping partner Paul closing up the hive. Here you will see bees all over his shoulders and back. This hive seems to be very strong as the number of bees was really high.
Even though we had two hives that successfully survived the winter, we had less success at our other hive location 2 blocks away. As soon as we arrived, we knew they were doomed. We saw no bees flying around the hive. Here's a look of the dead bees from one of the frames. Here you will see the bees are clustering together trying to keep the Queen warm. If we looked carefully, she probably is under this large pile of bees.
We found mold all over the frames. Lots and lots of it, so we ended up throwing away all 20 deep frames. You don't want to use moldy frames. They will kill the bees. We decided to purchase a new bee package and frames for this hive which we will install in a week.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry about you loosing one but great news that 2 survived. I lost 2 last year and that was dreadful as I only had 2 hives at the time. They also had mold on them but I have been told that the mold is common and not an issue, the only reason the mold got out of hand was that the bees had died and not that it was the mold that killed them. When the bees are alive and doing what they do they manage this kind of mold so you don't see it building up.

    Great post, keep it up


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