Sunday, February 2, 2014

Candy Board for Bees

I can still hear buzzing in the Deerfield Door Hive.  These crazy sub-zero days have not yet wiped out that weak colony. The ground hog said today that we may have six more weeks of winter.  Hopefully, not so polar-vortexed as the last six weeks.  I always feel a relief when I have made it through January.  February is a time to start thinking ahead.

These bees were fed syrup until Thanksgiving.  At that time, I put in two (yes, two, in case they couldn't move their cluster to find one) pollen patties. These patties could feed them if they couldn't get to their honey stores. I did wonder if they would try making more brood with the pollen. But this hive struggled all summer to keep their queen and more brood could only be good.  I figured the honey stores would be sufficient. They had quite a bit of capped honey, but it is always hard for a small cluster to move itself around to find the food stores.  The more places to eat the merrier.

I decided to make a bee candy board today.  Here is my version:

J and I ripped and nailed together some 2" boards into a size that fits on top of my 8-frame hive bodies.  I stapled in the green plastic coated wire.  This wire has a rather a big hole, but I think the newspaper will keep the sugar on top.  I suppose the worst that can happen is that the sugar falls down into the frames. And I did not have any hardware cloth of the right size. This is easier to work with.  There is an entrance hole on the short end.  I can plug it if I need to.  Notice that I cut the wire away from the entrance.

It is sitting on top of some foil to keep the moisture off the counter where it will sit for a day to harden up.

I REALLY found it amusing that the one piece of newspaper I found to put in had this article.   I hope the bees can read.  "Baby, I'ts Cold Inside" this hive.   This board is My version of "fuel assistance."  The plastic is going to keep the sugar from covering a hole in the middle as I'm spreading it.

The sugar board is made of five pounds of sugar and one cup of warm water.   I also add HoneyBHealthy.  It smells wonderful.
This is the access point in the center. I am thinking the cluster may be in the middle of the boxes. There is another near the entrance hole.  The bees can chew easily through the paper, but I want them to find it quickly and easily.

The candy will sit inside and dry for a day or so.   I want to keep moisture levels low in the hive.  I will try to open the hive and 
put this on VERY quickly so that I do not chill the cluster.

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