One most urgent subject we are the most adamant about preaching this time of year is how seriously we are opposed to chemical lawn treatments and insecticide sprays. CHEMICALS KILL! No matter what you have been told; Dandelions are NOT your enemy!
THE NEED FOR FEED
Just like humans, honey bees are anxious to get out and experience the abundance of Springtime freshness. Just like humans they crave a fresh earthy meal. Dandelions, crocus, fruit trees and other kinds of flowering plants are life-sustaining food sources for these tiny insects who have also been cooped up all winter long. They need “clean” food!
Springtime is an important time for Beekeepers and just like Farmers, we keep a close eye on the weather. Once the temperatures warm and our Queens start laying more, we also watch our livestock (the honeybees). What we want, is to see foragers coming and going, bringing in the nectar and pollen that’s going to feed thousands of newly hatched baby bees.
We live on Faith when it comes to the weather in the Mid-west. Some years there’s too much rain and the nectar seems to be washed away. The windstorms often knock off the blooms otherwise bursting with sweet syrup. There’s days the sun don’t shine through the clouds. Our beekeeping patience is tested. Ultimately Mother Nature reminds us that she’s in control and all proves to be well. Before we know it we are splitting hives that are bursting at the seams.
Spring is a busy time but every season brings its own set of challenges and every year is typically different from the last.
HIVE INSPECTIONS: (More Soon)
FEEDING: If needed, early in the Spring and when temperatures are above 40 degrees at night, we may feed sugar syrup. A feed of 2:1 ratio, sugar to water will give them a bit of a boost. If they are still taking it in as flowers begin to bloom, we will cut it back to a 1:1 ratio. Eventually they will not take any of it and we will remove the feeders.
If outside temperatures are below 40 degrees at night, sugar patties are made. A sugar patty will consist of organic sugar (or table sugar if organic is not available) mixed with just enough water to hold it together. We will put this mixture into a one gallon size Ziplock bag with two small 1″ X 1″ X 4″ chunks of wood placed inside and on what will become the bottom side of the bag. This will keep the bees from suffocating underneath. When we place the bag on top of the hive frames, we will cut slits into the bag so the bees have access to the sugar patty. I have also added one drop of peppermint essential oil to this mixture when I believe they need a little help stimulating their appetite. I also believe that it helps ward off mites.