Good Morning Everyone!
Well, Spring is almost here, and it is time for me to start posting again about my bees. I just noticed how long it had been since my last post, so my new commitment is to be more committed to this blog.
What a long, hard winter we have had in Central Illinois. I haven't seen this much snow since 1978, and sub-zero weather even started to seem like the norm. Unfortunately, my bees haven't cared too much for the winter. Back at the end of January we had a break in the cold, so I check on the hives. Sadly, at that time I had lost 9 of 23 hives. All but 1 of the losses were weak hives, so I wasn't too troubled, but in the six weeks since I have been worrying about additional losses.
Winter has been hard on other beekeepers as well. My friend Dave Dhom from Newton reported at our last Crossroads Beekeepers meeting that he was looking at an approximate 40% loss this winter, and Dan Wright, apiary inspector, is seeing similar losses this winter.
So, what is my plan? I am hoping to take advantage of one of the Spring days in the next week to assess the individual hives and start Spring feeding. I have pollen patties that I plan to cut into strips and lay on top of the frames, and I plan to start feeding sugar water in feeders that sit on top of the hives. I don't want to encourage robbing by using entrance feeders. Speaking of robbing, about 3 weeks ago, my son Andy and I were at the farm on a warm day, and the surviving hives were raiding the dead hives for any food stuffs they could find....I was crazy!