It has been a while since we last checked on the bee hives at Deer Hollow Farm. The last time was in November 2012 and we did see activity over Thanksgiving. This will be our first time inspecting the hives since Fall. Upon arrival we saw bee activity, actually a good amount from the seasoned hive that has been there for about 2 years now. The smaller hive looked kind of deserted and we knew it was gone.
The Bedford hive went through Winter in 3 medium boxes but I was sure they didn’t need all that space since the population wasn’t that heavy. The inspection over the weekend showed that the bee population is good and increasing. The bees are occupying the top two boxes. The top box was very lightweight, almost no honey in it. It seems like this part of the hills isn’t the best for the bees. Forage hours are VERY limited as it cools off quickly as the afternoon sun goes over the mountains. Then nectar and pollen sources are also very limited and short due to the mountainous conditions even though there are homes nearby but that’s still maybe 2 miles away. So it looks like we might not even get a honey crop from the hive this year unless the bees so some amazing things, and they have in the past. 🙂
The second smaller hive, well, it didn’t survive or it absconded in the Fall. Zero honey was left as it was robbed out or the colony never collected enough. From the picture above you can see some wax moth cocoons, mice chewed up frames, and a queen yellow jacket. On the bottom board were no dead bees, perhaps the mice ate them in the cold months, and there’s debris from the mice making a nest at the bottom of the hive. Guess this year I’ll have to install a permanent mouse guard at the entrance of the hives.
Anyways, the season just started. I have good confidence that this colony will make it and perhaps even swarm this season like it did 5 times last year! More updates in a few months.