We had our first near freeze last evening and the girls are not flying today. The mild weather from which the bees have benefited looks to be behind us and now the long wait-and-see begins. Have I fed aggressively enough for energy stores? Should I have fed more pollen patties (they were bringing in pollen as late as two days ago)? Do I have the right breeds to overwinter? Should I insulate?
Of course I’ve been doing all the wrong things to ease my mind. The information on the net is all over the board on feeding and wintering with some saying they never feed and the other extreme describing copious pollen supplementation and sugar feeding. So I am considering strategies to implement mid-winter to feed with sugar candy. I will be anxious to see what’s under the cover, and moving, after Christmas.
One bit of good news is that I found a local supplier of package bees and he indicates he will have some in March. That will let me get a head start on a few new hives I am installing for clients, and give me an early package in case I lose a colony. He still has packages for April and May and is located in Stafford, Va: Rocky Hill Bee Farm. Nice people and am looking forward to getting my kids down to see how the pro’s do it.
I’ve been getting confused about which hive has what bees in it when I describe them. I have generally been unsupportive of “named” hives, thinking it a bit silly, but I have now caved to the idea. In honor of my wife’s Rhode Island heritage I’m going to name them after Rhode Island towns, with Narragansett being Hive Number 1. I hope to make a couple of nucs up this spring and drive them to our home in RI where we can establish some colonies in that state.