I have been using any extra beekeeping time to help other beekeepers improve their experience through a few yard visits but mostly continuing the train yard process. The training yard has become the better method for people to meet on a regular schedule and compare hive situations. After each visit I email out notes of what we saw and did.
Here is today’s:
23 Berryville swarm hive – Top super has lots of nectar and uncapped larva with medium bee cover. Middle super has nectar, pollen, capped worker brood and some drone cells. There is active bee cover on all frames. Good amount of entrance activity. This is the weakest of the three 8 frame hives but still well supplied with bees and brood. Installed ½” hardware cloth mouse guard, filled feeder with 2 to 1 syrup.
#24 BONS package – Very good amount of capped honey in top super with most frames completely filled. Some capped brood in middle frames with solid pattern and arch of nectar. Middle super brood pattern is good with large fan of burr comb extending from one frame likely caused by extra space/missing frame in bottom super (oops). Hive appears to be moving brood production out of the top super and back-filling with nectar/syrup/honey. Hive is well supplied with bees, brood and stores. Good amount of entrance activity. Added mouse guard and filled feeder with 2 to 1 syrup.
#25 BONS package – Very good capped honey in top super with most frames completely filled. Reasonable amount of brood in top super. heavy bee cover. Did not go past top super. Good amount of entrance activity. Added mouse guard and filled feeder with 2 to 1 syrup.
#N9 Clermont 5 frame Nuc – Top super has three frames of capped honey with the two frame feeder filling the additional space. Lots of burr comb on the frames and between the supers. Middle super has good amount of capped brood in standard arch pattern with capped honey, nectar and pollen. Saw uncapped larva. Good amount of entrance activity. Added mouse guard and filled feeder with 2 to 1 syrup.
General non-hive specific information:
- We observed a few brood cells in several hives that appeared to have been uncapped by the bees exposing the pupating larva. When removed with tweezers and compared to fully capped larva not much difference could be seen. As the numbers were very low (3 or 4 cells on a full frame of capped brood, it was decided to simply make note and watch for change at the next visit. The cause of this is not known. There is no evidence of mite infestation or other disease issues in any of the hives. Brood patterns are normal for late September.
- The external protein feeder was filled. There was minimum bee activity around the feeder.
- We discussed syrup mixing and the merit of different feeding plans.
Here is the process for using a 25 pound bag of sugar to make 2 to 1 syrup:
16-quart stock pot
25 pounds of white granulated sugar
6 quarts tap water
- Add 6 quarts tap water to the stock pot and bring it to a rolling boil.
- Add approximately 2/3 of a 25 pound bag granulated white sugar to the boiling water and stir. Keep stove burner on, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved and you can see the bottom of the pan.
- Continue to heat and stir the solution adding the rest of the 25 pound bag of sugar to the stock pot. I add it all at once.
- Stir and continue to heat the sugar syrup until all the lumps are dissolved. Be sure there is no sugar settling on the bottom.
- Remove from heat and continue to stir until the solution becomes clear.
The heat can be turned back on if sugar settles out but constant stirring is necessary while the heat is on. I use an instant read thermometer and don’t exceed 140 ⁰F maximum. It is thought that scorched syrup is unhealthy for bees.
Allow syrup to cool to room temperature. Extra syrup can be refrigerated or frozen until needed.
The math is this – 1 gallon water = 8.5 pounds so a quart of water is 8.5/4 or 2.125 pounds per quart. Therefore 6 quarts is 12.75 pounds of water. So for 2 to 1 sugar to water the mix needs 12.75 x 2 or 25.5 pounds of sugar for each 12.75 pounds of water. Not perfect at 6 quarts per 25 pound bag of sugar but bees can’t do math.