I’ve been putting off a visit to the bees this last couple of weeks, because of the rain or other commitment. Today I took my suit and gloves (in case they had blown\fallen over and might need lifting) and 3 blocks of fondant icing and went out first thing. Bearing in mind that 48 hours ago the temperature was -3, this morning it was a pleasant 6 degrees at 9 o’clock. I had to park at the top of the roadway as the field trap was churned up by tractor tracks and huge puddles. As I slid and squelched through the mud I almost missed the 4 roe deer who crossed in front of me
By the time I realised they were a little bit distant but you get the idea!
The bees were looking dismal when I got to them
The hives are wet with water and layers of pigeon droppings laying on the roofs. In the garden it would never have got to this state but away from home I’m just not giving them the time I would like. The woodpecker cover took some removing as the strings were wet and slimy but each hive had eaten the fondant I had put on just before Christmas so I was pleased I had visited
The fondant is placed over the main hole in the crownboard and covered with a plastic food bag to stop it drying out. Two of the hives had finished it all but the third had eaten this rather tidy hole in the centre. During winter fondant is the only thing to feed as it can be used instantly without the bees needing to work it in any way.
It’s always a worry they will start to die out at this time, as the queen returns to laying but the stock of stored honey runs out, but 2 hives definitely have bees so I am hopeful. Only time will tell and opening them to look now would not be wise. Patience is a virtue I have little of but on this occasion I just have to be.