Bees Are Bumping against the Screens

Last night I whipped up today’s sugar water for the bees. It’s sort of a messy process.

I mix a 3:5 water-to-sugar ratio. In other words, I heat 3 cups of water and add 5 cups of granulated sugar to it…actually, I quadruple this recipe. If I had a good place to store the stuff, I’d multiply it even further. We’re going through a hell of a lot of sugar…and, let me tell you, sugar gets everywhere. And then sugar water gets everywhere. And then Deb goes a little nutty with cleaning it all up. I try to clean it, and I think I do a pretty good job of it, but inevitably some sugar finds its way under the coffee maker or in some corner, and we can’t have that. You should see Deb with a sink full of soapy water and a rag. It’s a sight.

What amazes me, though, is that when I mix this stuff during the day with the windows open, bees immediately begin bumping against the screens. And they’re incredibly insistent. After I add the sugar to the water, they will bump against the screen alllll daaaaay looong. Until dark. We can’t even eat on the deck because of them. It’s sort of inspiring…they don’t appear angry, they simply appear determined. I should learn from them.

So now I mix the stuff at night. Then I put about 12-15 bottles of sugar water in big 5 gallon buckets with lids and move it all down to the basement where I store it overnight…trying to fake the bees out.

P.S. My neighbor said my bees were really going for his hummingbird feeders. I’ll bet they are! But I’ll bet the yellow jackets and the bumblebees and the hornets are going for it too these days…we’ve not had any rain, so all the flowers and nectar are dried up. I’ve never seen it so dry.

One Dead Hive

It’s confirmed: We have one dead hive. Dead bees everywhere. But there weren’t as many as I would have thought…I just don’t think this colony was ever very robust.

The temperature today is in the high 40s or low 50s, but it’s been raining all the danged day. So Deb and I headed out in the rain to open the hives anyway because later in the week the temperatures will drop back into the 20s, and it’s hazardous to the bees to open their home in that kind of cold. They don’t love getting visited on a rainy day, either, but it seemed the smartest choice. After digging around in that quiet, dead hive, it was such a happy happy sight to lift the lid of the swarm-hive box and see and hear thousand of bees buzzing. I felt great relief.

Then we placed a piece of parchment paper on top of the frames (and on top the bees that were hanging out there…I hope we didn’t kill any of them!); on the parchment paper we poured about 1/2 pound of granulate sugar for them to munch on in the next weeks. We quickly closed things up before we got everyone all riled, and I hauled all the hive parts belonging to the dead back into the basement where I’ll clean it all up before starting again in the spring.