Sunday, November 15, 2009

Finally drying out from rains and floods!

 Take a look at what my area has experienced for the last week. Rain, rain, and more rain! The eastern section of the United States is waterlogged -- all thanks to what was left of tropical storm Ida turning into a nor'easter and pushing non-stop rain here for days. From the Carolinas all the way to the northeast, the region has been absolutely soaked. And tragically, a local woman was killed when a tree fell on her vehicle and crushed her. The tree was within inches of her two-year old son, who was in the back seat, and he somehow survived. Ironically, the first person to find the woman was her husband who was talking to her on the phone when it happened -- he heard it. It is a gut-wrenching story, but just one example of how the weather can have tragic consequences, even in the late fall.

I was able to get out last Sunday, one week ago, to do a brief inspection of my colony. The girls were very docile during the inspection, only a few head-butts, the rest of the time they just flew around. One thing I noticed is that they can't stop building burr comb on the bottom frames of the upper deep. They love to get crazy with their comb building even this late in the season, and so I had to go about cleaning up the frames yet again. The honey that came from the comb was golden and beautiful, and I was tempted to taste it, but I decided to wait until next year. Curiously, I noticed a few of the girls flying into the hive with dark golden pollen in their sacs. I have no clue where they're finding it, but they're bringing it in. To help them out, I put some Mega-Bee pollen substitute on the top frames because I am still giving them winter syrup, so I added some "pollen helper" to the mix.

Overall, the hive looked great. While the boxes are still full of bees, it did seems like the numbers were slightly thinner, and I'm assuming that its the usual winter thinning of the population. Although I didn't see her, her majesty is alive and well because I found capped brood in the bottom chamber. Not as much as before, but she's still laying and rearing.

I expect that will be the last full inspection before spring. I don't see the need of breaking the hive apart at this point since I know they're okay and since the weather is clearing up and they're flying all around on warmer days. The front of the hive was busy yesterday, the reduced entrance was covered and a flurry of girls were coming and going. At this point, just to make sure they'll be okay, I plan to feed until the first hard freeze - which hasn't happened here yet. But I think it is coming soon as we get out of the remnants of hurricane November!

Hope all is well with you and your hives! Talk soon!


  1. Hi Mark. We've had over 80' of rain in the Cashiers/Highlands area of the mountains. Certainly deserves the rain forest designation this year. Enough already!

    My bees are behaving much the same as yours. Inside building burr comb, (maybe they're bored on rainy days) and flying on nice days. Mine, too, are bringing in orange and rust colored pollen. From where, I don't know. We're having a problem in the mountains with bees starving because of the nice days when they do get out. They're using lots of energy and coming back to the hives and consuming a lot of honey stores. I decided to feed outside the hives yesterday even though there is plenty of honey on both, but the bees paid no attention. I guess they would rather have the lovely honey inside the hive. I'll try again today. The morning is gorgeous.

    I hope your neck is better. We share more than bees, unfortunately, I've had chronic back pain for years and the cold, rainy weather doesn't help. Sometimes I miss the hot summer days of the Triad. Take care of yourself. Lynn

  2. Hi Mark, 4.5 inches of rain in my apiary this past week from Ida. Bees didn't seem to mind since they are high on the hill. All is well. Looking forward to next spring!

  3. Hi Mark. Sorry to read about your wet weather! I'm so glad that the young boy did survive the accident. How tragic though.

    I visited my bees today and they've taken some of the syrup. I didn't open the hive but am presuming they're eating the sugar cakes I left. Our weather has been pretty unseasonal - warm, with temps between 10 and 19.

    I totally understand about the neck thing. I have stenosis in the neck. They say I've got the neck of a 70 year old but I'm too "young" for surgery. Dealt with it since my early 20's.

    Re the burr comb - A lot of that is probably ladders so the bees can climb up faster to the frames above.

  4. Hi Mark,
    I am researching everything I can before getting my first package of bees next spring and your web site is just great. Looking back to see what kind of bees you chose I couldn't believe what happened with your package and the deadbeat vender. Will definitely steer clear of C&H but you certainly have done a great job getting them going. See ya, Steve



Thanks for visiting Mark's Bees. Feel free to leave your thoughts and ideas on my posts. I'm always open for ideas from other beekeepers.

All comments are moderated to eliminate spam so that's why they may not appear instantly.

Thanks again and please visit often!