The Bees Were Out and About

With the unusually warm weather we’ve had, the bees are probably thinking it’s spring time.

Bees come out of the hive when it warms up to check on nectar supplies

Enjoying the beautiful weather

But it’s not.  Colder weather is on the way and this is a critical time for beehives.  I am told that most hives are lost in February and March due to low food supplies in the hive.

As I was working in the barn today, I heard a familiar buzz nearby.  Upon closer examination, I saw several bees dining on deadnettle.

Bees love the early blooming dead nettle bee and dead nettle bee and deadnettle bee and deadnettle

Deadnettle is considered a weed (it’s in the mint family) and it LOVES to overwinter in my flowerbeds.

deadnettle bee

One man’s weed is another’s bee food.

deadnettle bee

I didn’t notice any blooming in the flower beds.  Just this little patch by the barn.  Don’t get me wrong-it’s there, just not blooming yet.

Feeding the bees this time of year is very important to get them over the last hump of winter.  I made a sugar-water mixture of one part pure cane sugar and one part warm water (to help dissolve the sugar) and put this mixture in my Boardman entrance feeders and slid them into the hive.  The jar lid has several very small holes in it and allows the bees to get access to the syrup without leaving the hive.  I’ll get a better picture tomorrow so you know what I’m talking about.  I was a little nervous doing this today because I didn’t have one stitch of my bee suit on.  Just regular clothes.  Not even gloves!  Aren’t I getting braver?

Boardman bee feeders are used to feed sugar-water in the winter

Boardman bee feeders are used to feed sugar-water in the winter

They actually went through both feeders in one day.

If you remember, about a week ago, I set out this feeder

bee

with sugar-water in it.  This worked well except when the water went down, about a couple of hundred bees found their way inside and began to cluster.  They were too far away from the hive and it was cold that night and they ended up freezing to death.  I felt really bad.  There are thousands of bees in the hive, and a couple of hundred probably won’t be missed, but I still don’t want to lose any.  So,  I put that feeder up and brought out the entrance feeders.

I will be feeding from now until more deadnettle, dandelions, and trees start blooming.  When you think about it, we still have a lot of cold weather ahead and I see pounds and pounds of sugar-water in my future.

Your friend in the garden,

Brenda

 

 

 

 

About the blonde gardener

I'm an Arkansas girl born and raised. I garden in the beautiful Northwest part of the state (zone 6b or 7) surrounded by the Ozark Mountains. My favorite part about the area is we have 4 distinct seasons and are able to enjoy a variety of activities. My main passion is gardening but I also enjoy hiking, birding, 4-wheeling and motorcycle trips. Basically anything outside. Thanks for stopping by! Brenda
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8 Responses to The Bees Were Out and About

  1. When my boys were all dirty and sweaty and, well, funky like ten-year-olds can be, and they would come to me terrified of bees, I would tell them, “Don’t worry about the bees. If you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you. You don’t look like a flower. And you certainly don’t smell like one!”
    Somehow that did not seem to comfort them much. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. oh my goodness, how wonderful that you have bees and blooming plants already! You’ve given me hope! We have a lot of snow here. I’ll probably post about it tomorrow sometime. Enjoy your bees!

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  3. Bill says:

    Glad your bees are alive and well. I can attest to the danger of this time of year. Our hive was strong and coming out on warm days last February, but then all died suddenly sometime later in the month (even though they had honey in the hive). It’s great that yours took so much food. In hindsight I wish I had tried feeding ours in February.

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    • I’m feeling optimistic right now, but the week long cold spell we are in for could be bad. I won’t feel like I’ve succeeded until probably around April. That’s a long time for a bee. I am going to keep those feeders in until then and keep my fingers crossed.

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  4. Dawn says:

    You are definitely getting braver, Brenda! It’s really fascinating for me to peek into the busy life of a beekeeper. I’m learning what a big responsibility it is. Wishing you the best during the coming cold spell. Stay warm! ♡

    Like

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