This week I checked my hives. Another one has starved to death. This was one of the best hives that I’ve ever had and I had three supers piled up on it in July. I must have taken 50 pounds of honey from it.
I never touched the bottom deeps, but in September I noticed that the hives were all nearly empty. This one had some honey in it, and I though she would make it.
The two other hives still have some life, but I am not optimistic. Connie, my oldest hive, seemed quite, but there were no dead bees on the bottom board. This is a Russian hybrid, and she can live through the winter with short supplies, so she may make it. I did not open up the hives that I think might be alive because it is under 40°.
I was a little worried that I might not have enough wood for 8 hives. I ordered 5 packages and 3 queens. I as going to split any hives that lived through the winter. Now, I guess, I’ll use some bees from the packages to make small hives for the queens that I ordered. if I take a cup or two of bees from each of the 5, there should be enough to start the three queens in hives of their own.
I am gong to order some fondant for winter feeding on the three hives that are left, and I’ll put on the top feeders as soon as the weather starts to get above 50° regularly. With luck, I will have two hives live through the winter.
What I have learned is that next August I have to watch the bees until winter sets in. If they start using up their honey I have to feed them as much as I can. It is cheaper to feed a hive $20 worth of sugar than to have to buy packages at $90 each.