Today’s video is from November 2nd 2013 when I went into the top bar hive to check on the bees’ winter honey supply and to put in top bar of fondant and a sugar patty packed with essential oils and vitamins. The manner in which I planned to introduce the fondant was on a top bar and filling out pretty much the size of full comb of honey. You will see in the video how I prepare the fondant and take care to tie it securely to the top bar. The fondant is also useful as a desiccant which takes in excess moisture from inside the hive. This is a good thing during winter because water kills bees not the cold.
Other winter preps for the hive include wrapping the hive in double layered tar paper. The wood is 3/4 inch thick and the layers help to make cold winds less miserable. The insulated roof is an added comfort for keeping heat in the hive. This is my first top bar hive and I in no way claim any precedence of success but protectiveness and alertness help to keep bees going too.
There is a lot of activity in the videos that speaks for itself as you observe my inspection and clean efforts. The comb I made a mess of earlyier during a honey transfer operation was excessive and empty. The bees did a fine job of reallocating honey to stable combs and the clean up did now was necessary to avoid a mess in the spring. So the hive got well cleaned and fed and I closed her up for the oncoming winter.
I had robbed this hive in June of brood and bees to bulk up two other hives and I should not have done that because hives B and C were beyond repair. Regardless Hive D the top bar hive continued thrive and build up lots of honey for the winter. However, they too experienced some robbing in August and then there were too many small hive beetle larvae and the threat of wax moths.
As you can see now in the video the bees had made a strong hive to get them through the winter with the appropriate amount of brood in waiting. Yet there was too much to leave to chance so I made an effort to get a patty of fondant flattened and fit to a top bar. Moreover, going into the hive now was of utmost important because of the mess of empty comb that was left at the west end of the hive as a result of the mess I made in August when I moved a bunch of honey from the east side to the west side rather than leaving the honey on both ends. The reason for the move was to prevent the colony from starving by moving to one end and then having to try to move to the opposite end. In the end they still made more honey at the east end so I will have to consider how this is managed next year.
Part 2 will follow this episode.
Song of the Day – Government Mule w/Grace Potter Live at Interlocken 2013 – Dear Prudence and Gold Dust Woman