Wednesday, April 10

Pollen Patty Substitute

Shipment arrived. I plan to stick a few quarter-patties in with the bees, move the syrup to the front and sprinkle ground cinnamon on the bars to discourage ants. I tried the ground cinnamon in the house to combat our existing sugar ant problem, but it only attracted more ants and so I decided against putting it on the hive. By 1:00 pm quite a few bees were flying around the hive. By 5:00 pm one bee would leave before another would appear. They are either empty or it is curfew time. Here is a picture of the apiary orientation:
I stood north of the hive and the evening sun shone through the back fence. The south wall of the hive is parallel with the south side of our house, but lies a few feet further south, allowing the bees to get the morning sunshine and not be in the shadow of the house.
By 6:00 - 7:00 pm most of the foragers were in for the night. I was hoping my husband would be home to give me moral support while I would have the hive open, but I got restless and went out alone at 7:30 pm. We are still experiencing 40 degree temperatures at night in our area. I started up the smoker with the help from the gas stove in the kitchen. We haven't had much luck keeping it burning very long.
While I was out, two bees harassed me. I would step back and they would back off. I dropped a quarter-patty between the front of the hive and bar #1 and put a second quarter in the back. Moving the syrup to the front was not going to be an option - too many bees on the front bars. Again, I did not want to be a nuisance. The bees hadn't even been in the hive a week together yet. I was in the hive about five minutes.
At 8:00 pm, my husband went out to have a look for himself. He added another patty on top of the package box, added more holes to the feeders, and moved the feeders closer to the cluster near the queen cage. Then he met our first martyr, but handled it very well, despite getting stung on the upper lip. After the visit, we chose to leave the bees alone for at least 24 hours. I'd rather not disturb them until day seven or nine. I wish we had been prepared to feed them before they arrived. We still need to check to make sure the syrups are dripping enough and to replace patties as they run out.

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