Dry sugar feeding. Bees clustering extra high again. Possibly some dead drone pupae.
The bees were gathering pollen at a steady pace for a couple weeks in April. But then the weather turned into cold, wet snow and the forecast ain’t the greatest. Always the paranoid beekeeper, I decided to sprinkle some dry sugar around the inner cover holes today just in case the bees were running low on honey. (I’ll probably give them some pollen patties once the weather warms up a bit.) This is what I found under the hood of Hive #3:
They bees are clustering above the inner cover hole, attached to the top cover as if they’re trying to build comb upwards. It’s the same colony that built some big time burr comb under the insulated inner cover a few weeks ago. I don’t know it if it means they’re just trying to stay warm or if the queen wants to expand the brood nest upwards. Either way, I think the safest bet to reduce the chances of swarming is to reverse the brood boxes ASAP. That’s our plan the next time the sun comes out.
I also noticed what could be dead drone pupae at the entrance of a couple hives:
Drones, even in the pupa stage, are usually the first to get the boot when honey stores are low. I’ve seen that happen more than once since I began keeping bees 656 days ago. Cold-climate honey bees (e.g., Carniolans and Russians) supposedly react fast to environmental changes and will shut down like they’re going into winter during any kind of cold snap. They also bounce back in a hurry when the weather warms up. The queen goes into all-out egg-laying and the population explodes into a swarm in no time. I suspect our bees possess a higher percentage of Carniolan genes. Hence, I have to get ready for action, pronto.