It was about 6 degrees outside today, but I wanted to check on the bees anyway. Some of the hives seem to be low on food. At least lifting the frames left and right of where the bees are sitting indicated that they're empty. I'll call somebody with more experience tomorrow to ask if I should feed them.
I also noticed that one of our covers is growing mold on the inside. No clue what that means or what to do about it, yet.
When we made the shallow "supers" for feeding with fondant we didn't really care about the wall thickness. Turns out it does matter when they're too thick, because you cannot pull the frames from the super below anymore without removing them.
One of the hives was actually open. I assume the cover got moved a couple of centimeters during one of the recent storms. Maybe I should secure them more since I don't have a tongue and groove or anything like that.
I talked to Otto and he said I definitely still have to feed if they're running low. The should still have at least another comb. Unfortunately my usual fondant source was closed. I'll drive to a shop tomorrow. I wanted to buy some Dadant frames anyway.
I also watched the latest stream by Ralf Sester. He had a lot to say about what to do right now. I got completely overwhelmed, of course. I also have to be a little careful because he is in a part of Germany that is ahead of us in the season. There is this really cool phenological clock available at the DWD. In the region average they seem to be about 3 weeks ahead of us but the regions are probably a bit big for that to be accurate.
Too tired now, will finish this tomorrow. :P
Edit from the future!
- Lift your hives to find the lightest and check if there is enough food. Feed them if necessary and continue with the next lightest until there is enough food.
- If you open up a hive move the food closer to the bee ball by switching frames.
- If they're not flying yet that's fine you want them to start late rather than early so they don't get hit too hard when the cold returns.
- If they are flying they should be pooping everywhere. Check that they poop little dots and not wyrms or streaks of dots, that could be a sign of nosema.
- If they are flying a lot and in irregular patterns it could be a sign of food theft.
- Knock on the hive. A short burst of activity is to be expected. If it continues they might have lost the queen. Check for it and combine with another hive if the queen is missing.
Went shopping for my new Dadant hives. Spent about 350 bucks on frames and wax foundations and a few other knickknacks.
I probably would have taken an entire hive but, I wanted to build them myself and - more importantly - the car was full. Now I need some descriptions of what a Dadant hive is supposed to look like and wide boards for the deep supers.
So, I cleaned out the entrances today. It was unnecessary almost everywhere but one hive was super clogged. So I guess it's good that I did it. I also added another 12.5kg of fondant spread over my 8 hives. And I found more mould on some of the covers.
Anyway, here are some pictures:
I also cut out some of the entrances. They were really tiny. I think we just quickly carved them with a box cutter.
Heiko sent me some instructions for making fondant-like stuff: Link1 Link2.
I was curious what the actual phenological season around here is. I have narrowed it down to "at least pre-spring (Vorfrühling)" by finding out if the hazel is blooming. I don't really know anything about plants but apparently the hazel develops little stubs in autumn and the bloom is when those stubs turn into hanging wyrms in early spring.
I am looking for a reasonable way to track what is happeining with my bees. One of the colleagues here is using an Excel sheet. I am not loving it but at least it seems to give a good overview and it's really simple to get started.