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 soon as we get out of the remnants of hurricane season...in November!
Hope all is well with you and your hives! Talk soon!