Sometimes it seems like there just isn't enough time in the day for me, especially after Labor Day comes. At the television station where I work, we cover lots of fall events, festivals and such. Then once Halloween passes, we go full speed ahead through the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's holidays. I will get this coming Thursday off for Thanksgiving, but otherwise, its just a regular work week.
Reidsville, the city where I live, held its annual Christmas parade this past Saturday. I was one of the on-air talents and so I was busy all day getting ready..and had no time to check on my colony. For the past week, I wanted to get down there and check on how they're doing, but one thing or another came up and so I got sidetracked. I also wanted to refill the hive-top feeder which was probably empty.
Of course, the weather was beautiful, albeit cold during the parade, but afterwards.. the rains came. And it has been raining non-stop ever since. This has been the rainiest late summer and fall that I can remember in years, and I guess Mother Nature is making up now for lost time.
While my girls have a really nice winter store of honey going on in the hive, I'm one of those "what if" people. You know, what if it gets really nasty weatherwise in the next few months? What if I'm not careful and they starve to death? What if this.. what if that? So even though they have lots of honey, I mean packed, my cautious judgement tells me to keep the feed bag on. I think that as long as the temperatures stay fairly warm I will continue to feed them to make sure they're okay.
So while I was sitting at home tonight (10:30) I had a grand idea! Why not feed my girls tonight? After all, they're all resting and snug inside the hive. The temperature was 48 degrees and it was raining.. so why not run out, throw some syrup in the feeder and come back in the house? It would take all of five minutes and I wouldn't need a veil. So I made some syrup and while it cooled, I headed for the hive with a flashlight. And as I made my way, I thought to myself, surely the guard bees will stay in and not worry about what was making those slight noises outside. They're probably asleep. Right?
I got the hive top off and the inner cover off.. and that's when I could hear the slight buzzing start. As I started pouring the syrup in the feeder and occasionally flashing the light on the reduced entrance, I began to notice one bee come out, then two bees, and then more and more. Apparently feeling the vibrations, they decided to come out and see just what the heck was going on. By this time a fine mist was falling, so I hurried up to get the tops and the brick weights back on. Oh yeah, by the time I got everything back together, a healthy number of curious girls had started piling out of the hive entrance.. and I knew it was time to head for the house. While I knew they wouldn't fly very far from the hive if they flew at all.. I was practically standing just inches from it, so I figured they could possibly get up my pants or up my shirt sleeves, so I said to myself that it was time to go. And I did just that.
I have to admit that I do feel better that I got my girls fed. And I'm glad they'll have something to occupy their time during this nasty weather. But I learned a lesson. Even in colder weather, and even at night, your bees are going to check out those knocks and bumps. So if you're going to feed them or do some work around the hive, please, do it in the daytime. That or be prepared to take off if they decide to come out to take care of the situation!
To all my friends in the States and Canada, a Happy Thanksgiving to you all!