Sunday, August 8, 2010
I opened the hive yesterday and added more sugar water. Any "honey" I get from this colony next yr will be more sugar than nectar, I'm willing to bet.
But the point, I'm told, is to get the hive as large and strong as possible before winter sets in. And to make sure there are lots of capped honey cells for the bees to eat over the long winter, when the bees will form a big ball and stay alive by generating their own heat. So a big ball is better than a small ball -- generates more heat. The ball slowly moves around the hive* during the winter so the bees can eat the honey stores, and any supplemental food I give them. (You don't want to open the hive to add food in the winter b/c the act of removing the top will allow cold air inside--you're doing more harm than good.) I think.
*But, and it's a big but. The ball o' bees doesn't always know to reverse direction to find stores of honey. I haven't learned everything yet about this phenomenon but there's something about the ball moving only in a straight line or only in one direction and the bees sometimes starving even though there's food in another corner of the hive. Something like that.