Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Wind + Snow + Bees = Mess

At the beginning of the month, we had strong (STRONG) winds and bad weather. On the 11th I went to check on the bee hives and found them blown down, scattered, with snow in them. Lots of dead bees.

The frames in the center of the hives, where the bees had been, still had a few bee bodies in the comb and the bee bodies had molded and the mold had spread. The thought of cutting all that sticky mess out of the frames, cleaning the frames, putting in new foundation... it was REALLY depressing. Knowing I'd not done my part to protect my gals from disaster was even MORE depressing.

I took a couple of the moldiest frames to my beekeeper meeting and they said just to leave all that mess in there, that a new package of bees would clean up the mold and dead bee bodies in no time. Plus, they'd have the benefit of already drawn comb and some stored food.

The mold won't make the new bees sick?



So, at the advice of my beekeeper group, I've put the hives in a shed, on their side. This allows air to circulate and lets the frames and comb dry out. It also deters mice and wax moths from moving in, because they like dark hidey-holes. They don't like the frames on their side like this where light can come through.

I have two packages of bees ordered, they'll probably arrive in mid-April. We're going to build a metal stand for the hives and secure the hives to the stand with a ratchet strap. I had BIG rocks on top (as big as I can lift) but they still blew over.

We may move the location of the hives too. Problem is, we're in a valley with steep hills on either side. I can have morning sun (and lots of wind during storms) or I can have protection from the worst winds (and no sunlight until very late in the morning). Still pondering this one. I might have a beekeeper friend come over and give me his advice.

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