Sunday, January 4, 2009

Inspection - 01/04/09


Learned a hard lesson today. I came across a solid food recipe for wintering bees and decided to use it in my hives. Everything looked like it should go pretty well but it definitely did not. The recipe I was using called for using 1 cup of corn syrup to 7.5 cups of powdered sugar. Mix it together into a thick clay-like substance. No cooking so it was very easy. Fit into some screen, hang from a top bar and I was ready to go.

It was 61 degrees today so I decided to do an inspection. I'm glad I did. You can see from the photo what I found. It was not pretty. Hundreds of dead bees, ants running everywhere. I was afraid the hive had been seriously set back. I worked my way to the front and found the brood chamber was in good shape with lots of bees. That was a huge relief.

I had two hives this year and one died out. I took their hive, scraped it down, and moved this hive to it. While I was at it I put powdered sugar all over them. Once all that was done I put the new hive back in their spot so the foragers would find home. I then took the old hive and scraped out all the sugar goop and sprayed it out with water until it was good and clean. That hive is now drying in the shed.

Was a pretty disappointing day overall because I've worked really hard this year on my bees. I've made a lot of mistakes as well. Hard work doesn't always overcome mistakes but so far so good. This hive seems to be really strong. I didn't treat them well for mites but they've held up well. I'm going to have to keep an eye on them for food since this solid food is gone but they didn't have some honey. I also put in some dry sugar for the time being.


  1. John, I would say that is not as bad as it looks. I know losing any bees seems to much. But there will be alot of dead bees over the winter. If your girls are still making brood. Then they are already replacing the loss of their sisters. The main thing is putting them in the clean hive to save them from other insects. Dont be so hard on yourself, it is just a small bump in the road. Now to work on feeding them again. Maybe when you mix more up put powdered sugar in till it wont take anymore. Or even take regular granulated cane sugar. And pour in bottom of hive and spritz with water. Then the girls will have feed again with the risk of drowning. Now to deal with the ants, check this link out.
    It works with ants too, just dust around hive on ground. And it is non poisinous, nothing to worry about.

    God Bless / Charlie

  2. John--I have plunged into beekeeping this year. I ordered my "beginner's hive" and 1 3 lb. package of bees. I do have a mentor but don't want to bother him too much. I found your blog by googling electric fence. I plan to put one in and your list was helpful. Good luck this year!