January 09, 2013

30° Guarantee and Other Randomness

They are so good at predicting the weather here, the weather man gives a "30° Guarantee." It was just about 60° today and it might be 30° tomorrow, but that's not what he means. At any rate, it was good timing to mix up a grease patty and pop it into the feeder rim of the Warré hive.
Grease Patty mise en place: sugar, shortening, honey, mineral salt, essential oil
Hivetop setup is rim, screen, feeder, no quilt, roof.
The feeder rim (eke) is taped on to secure it and block drafts. The propolis screen is tacked on with green tape as well, so I can peel it back and not worry about it falling off while I photograph things.

The syrup feeder is filled with random blocks of styrofoam in an attempt to insulate the headspace above the bees. The feeder screen is covered with felt, which apparently does allow moisture to vent up into the roof. However, the rim of the feeder is weather-stripped (ant-proofed) so the roof sits on it tightly. I will have BB make a screened hole in the roof (lying upside down on the ground) to address the mold issue.

(Please pardon the random alignment in this post. Blogger HTML is driving me batty – or should I say langstrom –today.)

The bright white squarish thing is the grease patty. The other white chunks are month-old fondant. 
Some bees are eating the fondant, while others are carrying off bits as trash. I misted it with water to (hopefully) make it more enticing to the bees. I figure if they have to suck it up, they'll taste it and realize it's food. The bits of comb are from when we fed them honey. They've welded the empty combs in place, as well as built up from them, making them a pain to remove. It's brittle and "snappy" to work with in the cold, and the bees are quick to remind the beekeeper that ungracefulness is not appreciated.

My backyardhive.com hive tool isn't great for scraping horizontally or prying vertically, so I just ordered a "traditional" one from Rossman Apiaries. Also on the way are MegaBee patties. I've never ordered from Rossman nor have I fed my bees pollen substitute before, so keep an eye out for a post labeled "Lesson Learned."

The bottom board is a salvaged realty sign.
Some bees have discovered they can get to the sugar on the bottom board. There is a ton of air traffic in the Backyard, and I can't tell which hive they're from.


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