Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Bad News and Then More

So this drought is really making a mess of things around here. Yesterday we went to check on the blueberries at our usual spot. I'd wanted to go picking but we needed to check first to see if there were any to pick.

Nope. All the bushes and the berries we could see were shriveled and dead.  Maybe next year they'll come back. I had suspected this because we had such a good year last year, so we had gone picking twice and still have plenty of jam. I didn't count on the drought but overall, with everything doing so poorly this year anyway, it's not making too much of a difference. It might impact next year's crop so it'll be interesting to see how this plays out.

However, the drought is affecting the food sources for the bees. In response to my queries with the beekeeping community it seems that my hive is more aggressive because of food pressure. The bees were also quite rude and bothered our neighbors on Friday and I'm hoping (as are they) that is a one-time thing. I am working on getting the hive stronger so I went to feed them yesterday. When I did that I noticed there were bees that looked very different getting into the hive. They were much larger and while they looked like honeybees they weren't part of the colony. The concerning part is that the hive wasn't being very good about fighting them off. So I narrowed the entrance.

Maybe some good news now: when I went today to see how they were, they were nicer (I didn't try to get in yet, that's for later today when I change the feeder. I think they finished a quart of syrup already) and I didn't see any of those larger bees.

The plan is to get some help and in a few weeks recombine the nuc colony and the hive. That will give me an opportunity to reorganize the main hive, clear out some of the abnormal combs, and hopefully strengthen the overall population.

Update: (5:15 pm) I went to go change the feeder and noted they only finished half of it, so I can give them another day. However, I saw those big bees again. I did see one get deflected by one of my bees. Progress?

2 comments: