We put about 4 pounds of candy cakes in each hive on January 28th. Then a half-pound pollen patty on February 18th (with an extra candy cake in Hive #2). It went up to 5°C in the backyard today, blinding sun, no wind — the usual ripe conditions for adding candy cakes and pollen patties. So that’s what I did.
Exhibit A: Hive #1 after I smoked it and pried open the insulated inner cover. You can see they’ve been chowing down well on the 2-week-old pollen patty (half a pound) and the 1-month-old candy cakes (about a pound each).
Exhibit B: Hive #2 after I packed in another pollen patty and as many pieces of candy that would fit in. I thought smoking the bees would drive them down into the hive so I wouldn’t have to risk squishing them between the cakes and the inner cover when I put the cover down. The last time we added pollen patties, easily twice as many bees were clustering on top. The smoke probably drove half of them down this time, but the other half seemed to hang tight to the inner cover. They could have been clustering onto the queen up there for all I know. If that’s the case, I’d rather not have to do this again.
Here’s the whole thing in video form:
I wore my veil, but it wasn’t necessary. Maybe the smoke kept the bees out of my face. With any luck, the temperatures will go high enough later this month to allow us to add a feeder with sugar syrup to keep the bees going until the dandelions bloom.
Technical Postscript: I just noticed an annoying advertisement pop up while I was watching the video. I didn’t know YouTube did that because I usually use an ad-blocker. If you don’t like ads, I highly recommend installing one of the following ad-blockers: Adblock for Chrome. Adblock Plus for Firefox. Simple Adblock for Internet Explorer.
PHOTOS NOTE (OCTOBER 2015): The photos in this post may not display properly because they were uploaded through Google’s Picasa online photo album service, a service I no longer use because certain updates create more work for me instead of streamlining the process. I will eventually replace the photos with ones hosted on the Mud Songs server. This note will disappear when (or if) that happens.