Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring Cleaning

It is the time of the year when young beekeepers minds turn to thoughts of honey. Not harvesting honey, not honey for people, but… whether there is going to be enough honey left in the hive to keep the bees alive until the flowers are in bloom. It is a great sadness to get the hive through the winter only to lose it to a late spring.

So we take precautionary measures, and we feed! This is a sugar syrup made in a volume ratio of 2 sugar:1 water. I heat it on the stove over a low heat until the sugar all melts and I am left with a nice solution:

It's that colour because it is (fair trade) organic sugar cane. Nothing but the best for my girls.

The first time I did this, the holes in the lid were too large and the syrup just ran out when I inverted it. This is what they look like now that I have some practice:

Very sophisticated technology. Wood screws make the best holes. Nail holes are always too big to keep the syrup from pouring.
Unfortunately, one of my two hives petered out somewhere near the end of the fall. I had done a 50/50 split and the new colony either didn’t raise a queen, or something happened to her. Anyway, I don’t consider this a winter loss; I’m pretty sure that it was a failure last season. It was late in the year and cold, so I didn’t disassemble it at the time. That made it another task for today.
First, I was very excited to see such beautiful, yellow drawn comb:
Isn't it pretty?

As I made my way down through the hive, though, I discovered that a fair amount had (unsurprisingly) gone moldy through the winter:

Not so pretty

So everything is getting a good airing while I come and ask the internet what I should do with moldy comb. (Edit: I found an answer and a spectacularly good website about bees over here.)

This is the hive that didn't take when I split last summer. Now is the time for regrouping.

And that is what I did for spring cleaning today.

5 responses to “Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring Cleaning”

  1. Being the techno wizard I am, I only now found the link to let me leave a message….(newtoblogs) should be my name.
    Love the pics, and your messages, makes me feel a little closer. (:

  2. Hey, I get my honey fresh each year from a place in town. I love fresh honey. This is really my favorite time of year as the bee’s so “their thing.”