The first hurdle has officially been vaulted over. Two out of my three bee hives made it through the winter! Spring has sprung here in southern Illinois, and the forecast is full of beautifully mild days for the next two weeks. I went ahead and pulled the winterizing gear off my three hives and peeled the covers off of Hive 1 (H1), Hive 2 (H2), and Hive (H3) for a quick inspection.
I know it’s not suggested, but I almost look at my girls like “pets”. We have an understanding, my bees and I. I promise them that I will be slow and careful when I handle their frames, will give them grease patties with essential oils to combat mites, and feed them my secret recipe of sugar-water when needed. They promise they won’t die a horribly painful death by stinging me. Out of the 30,000+ honeybees that inhibit my hives, only 5 of the girls didn’t get the memo. Pretty good understanding, if you ask me.
I started my inspection with H2 because I have been frantic over those girls all winter. They went into the fall very weak; unfortunately, this hive did not make it. My heart sank when I found all of their lifeless bodies. On a positive note, this was a very small hive, and the loss is way less detrimental than if say, it had been H1.
H1 is my 10-frame pride and joy, and was acting as such during yesterday’s inspection. H3, my 8-frame hive, comes in at a close second, but more importantly, both were brimming with bees! They were so active and a bit territorial; my husband, who usually goes unscathed being an innocent bystander, was stung twice in the back of the head watching from about 20 feet away.
I didn’t do a full inspection yesterday – in the event that the temperatures do drop, I don’t want to break apart all of the propolis that is keeping the cold out (propolis is the “bee glue” that the girls use to stick the frames together and seal the cracks with).
A little bit more bee trivia… Did you know that all of the worker bees are female and do all of the work for the hive? Another impressive fact about the female species!!