by Anita Deeley at BeverlyBees.com
All this “Sugar, Sugar” better lead to more honey in the spring.
Before Christmas, I made a candy board for my hive following instructions from Southeastern Indiana Beekeepers Association. Days later, I installed the candy board without following all the directions. Here’s what I did.
First, I removed both covers and two empty feeder jars from my hive. Although, this particular day was cold, the bees had recently been quite active due to unseasonably warm late December temperatures.
Next, I removed the feeder box and wood strips I used to prop up the feeder jars. The girls were coming out in droves and clustering on top. I think they were trying to prevent the cold air from getting inside the hive.
Within seconds, the top bars were filling up with cranky honeybees. It’s too bad I tried to get away without lighting the smoker for this install. Now I had to go back down the ladder, get the smoker and light it fast!
By the time I got around to smoking the bees, the top bars were completely covered with them. I smoked them liberally and it worked! I was able to coax the bees back down into the hive. Now they won’t get squished when the candy board is placed on top.
I put some sugar on the girls by placing the candy board down. Immediately, the bees were indulging their sweet tooth, but most importantly they were happy!
Very quickly, there were so many bees on top of the sugar, that I could not install the outer cover without killing too many of them. I tried smoking the girls, but they would not leave their new-found food source. The candy board is supposed to be a replacement for the inner cover, instead I decided to place the inner cover above the candy board. This would prevent the outer cover from smashing the bees.
Finally, I got the hive back together and strapped it down with the hurricane strap for the vicious winter winds. At last the bees were both warm and happy because I made their life sweet again.
All I could think about throughout this whole process was all this sugar better lead to honey come this spring!
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