October 16, 2009

An update on my honeybees

In preparation for the cold winter ahead, Guy Hodges, my beekeeper, came to supplement each of my hives with a special pollen patty.  A pollen patty is a mixture of bee pollen, enzymes, and proteins, which the bees feed upon during periods of pollen shortage.  It helps to fatten up the worker bees, in hopes of keeping the hive active and healthy.

As Guy will attest, it's been a particularly bad season for honeybees.  Here in the Northeast, the spring was cold and wet, continuing into the summer.  Pollen was scarce for the bees to collect and consequently, there is no surplus honey to harvest.  Any honey made in my hives will remain there for the bees.  Guy tells me that he will harvest honey from only 10% of his 80 beehives.  It's imperative that the bees have plenty of honey in the hive because it takes one cell of honey and one cell of pollen to form one bee, and a queen will lay 1,500 to 2,000 eggs per day!

Another problem, and one of twenty-seven afflictions of honeybees is the Varroa mite.  These tiny parasites suck the blood from both the adults and the developing brood, weakening those attacked.  When Guy opened my hives the other day, he discovered some of these nasty creatures, brought in by drifting worker and drone bees.  He will wait until spring to work on this problem.  Please enjoy this latest blogisode of the very complex world of honeybees.

Also see my previous blog about my honeybees