With the unusually warm weather we’ve had, the bees are probably thinking it’s spring time.
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.
Deadnettle is considered a weed (it’s in the mint family) and it LOVES to overwinter in my flowerbeds.
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?
They actually went through both feeders in one day.
If you remember, about a week ago, I set out this feeder
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,