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Honey Bee’s Bringing in Pollen

Over the last couple of days, I have noticed a lot of pollen coming in. The usual gray, but mostly yellow with some a fairly deep red. The red could be the Maples, while the yellow could be the dandelions that have started to pop up here and there. I still have no idea what the gray is. Both hives seem to be active in bringing this in at a good pace. There is also a fair amount of activity on the landing board, possibly young bees doing some training flights.

As noted previously, the weak hive (which I fed syrup all Winter) has a Top Deep that is nearly full of honey (about 7.5 frames full of capped honey.) My reading online indicates that this could be a problem known as ‘honey bound’, where the queen has no place to lay because of all of the honey. This can trigger swarming activity. Kenny at the ERBA and a few folks online advised me to put a couple of empty frames of drawn wax (or simply foundation, if this is all I have – which it is, being a new beekeeper) in the center of the Deep’s, placing the ones currently there (which are full of capped honey) into the freezer for use later.

So, I ventured out over this past weekend to do just that. But, once I was able to get the top off, I noticed that I had some empty frames on the side. So, I swapped the empty frames for the full ones, right in the center of the Deep. I also stopped feeding them a few weeks ago, so the thought is that they will draw this wax out and start to move up. We’ll see…

Now, on to Hive 1, the strong hive. Up until this past weekend, I had thought that it was also honey bound (although I had stopped feeding them last November or December. But, when I went to swap out some empty frames this past weekend, I found that most of the frames in the upper Deep were actually empty! I now believe that my casual observations of the frames (without breaking them out of the Deep) was faulty. I even found two bees that were head first in the cells, as if they had starved (I didn’t poke them to see if they were alive, but doubt they were.) They still had a little capped honey, but not a ton (maybe 3 frames worth.) This was a pretty good lesson, as these guys could have starved. I should have been looking more carefully.

Since this hive, what I have been calling the Strong Hive, had so many empty, drawn frames that I only did a little re-arranging. Last night, I made up a batch of syrup and added 1 Teaspoon of Honey-Bee Healthy per quart. I put two gallons on this hive, thinking that they might need some assurances with the possibility of low food. I went back later this afternoon and didn’t find anyone on the syrup. This is odd. Either it was a little too chilly or they simply didn’t want it (maybe that lemon smell of the Honey-Bee Healthy freaked them out?!) Only time will tell. A couple of days in the high-60’s and low-70’s are coming up soon, so I hope to see some feasting then.

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