I put about 4 pounds of candy cakes in each of my hives on January 28th. Then a half-pound pollen patty on February 18th (with an extra candy cake in Hive #2). It went up to 5Â°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 I 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:
NOTE: You might want to mute the audio on the video. I had to replace with it with some junk music because it contained obscure copyrighted music.
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 me to add a feeder with sugar syrup to keep the bees going until the dandelions bloom.
December 2018 Postscript: I’ve deleted most of the candy cake posts, including the ones that show how I made them. Even though they’re convenient to put in the hives and the bees consume them well, anything that requires the heating of sugar isn’t the healthiest for honey bees, so I don’t promote it.
Wow, I’m suprised the bees made that much head way with the pollen patty. Cool…
Still looks like the girls are doing well. You keep feeding them you better be ready for a split the spring.
I don’t have any more pollen patties for them, but I do have two pounds of pollen supplement and a pound of pure pollen. I’ll dig into that stuff later on if I have to. If they’re eating pollen, I think it means they’re rearing brood. So that’s good.
I’ve been thinking about the whole making-a-split situation. If I have to make a split, I might just put a full medium super on top, let the queen lay eggs in it, and then start a new colony in an all-medium hive. That seems like the easiest way to switch to all mediums.
I really have no clue how that’s going to work out though.
In other news, our winter was slow to get started, but then came at us with a vengeance. The snow and slush and grey skies have become depressing. I’m glad to see more of the sun in the past week along with some higher temperatures. I’d like to see more of the same so I can start feeding the bees syrup before the end of March.
Apparently the dandelions begins to bloom in April. I’ll believe it when I see it.
There is also anothe flower that looks like dandelions but isn’t. That is an early source for the bees as well on nice days.
Last year when I knew I wanted to start beekeeping and waited for months to hear from the NL Company on whether or not they could sell me any nucs, I kept looking around at everything that was blossoming in my area. And it drove me crazy that I didn’t have the bees around to dig into it. This year I’ll be taking photos and notes of everything in my neighbourhood. Now if winter would just go away, it’d be great.
I was just out taking a peak at the bees. In Hive #2, I can actually see through the entrance the bees eating away at the candy cakes. I can’t tell if they’re licking the candy or chewing it off. I’ll try to get a close up of it on video if I can. I can also tell they’re defending the queen by the way the guard bees stick their butts in the air. It’s all good.