There hasn’t been much activity on the blog the last several weeks. I have been readying for winter, but still have been checking bee related things regularly. Though it is not quite officially winter yet the winter anxiety has begun for me. My favorite winter pass-time is worrying and waiting.
There has been much less activity out of the hives. Two weeks ago I was off of work for the first week of deer season here in Indiana. There are hives on the hunting property. This is the FIRST year I’ve heard bees flying while sitting in a tree stand. I don’t know exactly what they were looking for in the woods, but I heard the distinctive frequency of several workers buzzing around me on many occasions. I did find dandelions blooming in several locations early in November, but I did not see any in this woods.
There are three hives at this site. These hives were observed daily as I would walk past them on my way home. A couple of days it warmed to almost 60 degrees and two of the hives showed good activity at the restricted entrance. One hive 1206 showed no activity. There is a possibility that 1206 has already expired. It was not as robust as the other two hives at this location. There is nothing that I can really do for them now, so it is watch and WAIT and worry.
I am not going to write 1206 off yet. In the past I have stated that each hive has its own personality. Some hives maintain a presence at the entrance all winter long letting me know they are there on sunny days. I have also had other colonies that only come out on the nicest of days for cleansing flights. They could be in there snug as a bug in a rug with no desire to show themselves.
I remembered a similar hive from last year. The genetics do not come from the same place, but 1106 was looking at a similar situation going into winter last year. 1106 made 2 supers worth of honey in 2012 and was not fed or treated.
Log of 1106 – 9/12/11 – AG – This hive really surprised me today. The last time I looked at it, there was almost no comb construction in the top deep. Today all of the frames have been drawn out. The construction of the comb looks ugly, but much of it is full of capped honey. I thought it was a gonner last time I checked it. May make it through the winter.
10/24/2011 – No activity at entrance, but good activity inside. Much cross-coming in upper deep. Some probability of overwintering. Top deep probably 50-75% full of capped honey. Added Mouse Guard, Attic box and plastic bottom insert. “
At the same site 1205 shows great promise. These bees were at the entrance every day, even on cold mornings. This was one of the largest swarms I caught all summer (and perhaps ever). I am nearly certain that this group came from feral stock. It came from another one of the places that was near an apiary “of old”. There have been no managed hives in the area for at least 10 years. They are one of the best catches of 2012.
Looking back at my records I see that the same pattern produces high catch rates for example 1203, 1204, 1207, 1208, 12010, & CV1201 all the same pattern. From 2011: 1104, 1106, 1109, 1110, & 1111. Ask around this winter and find similar SPOTS where you live. If you put traps in a similar location you are likely to catch bees for free.
I am ready for March to get here. In order to keep from worrying 24 / 7, I’ve begun work on wooden-ware that will be used next year. There will be more on that in a future post.
What are you doing this time of year?
Are you having doubts or worrying about certain hives?