During my last few checks, I've been skipping a few hives each time. So yesterday, I actually checked them all to make sure they were configured for fall. Although, I've been in the process of reconfiguration ever since late-July/early August, there were still a few hives that needed empty bars/partial combs moved to the back. I have enough comb that nobody needs to waste resources drawing some. Instead, I want all their resources going toward honey production.
|Want to plant more garlic chives next year. They bloom in the fall & bees love them.|
|Autumn job starting to bloom|
About 10 days ago, I spotted what I thought were a few capped supersedure cells in Elsa. What I discovered yesterday was 1) a big fat queen 2) the queen cells were still in the hive and capped. Sometimes, I find that bees make queens, but then they never emerge for some reason and they dry up in their cells. I don't know why, but if someone has the answer, I'd love to hear it.
Otherwise, the goldenrod and Japanese knotweed are in full bloom. Starting to see asters, too. While none of the hives has enough honey yet to weather our winter (excepting Elsa maybe who was left well provisioned before her sisters swarmed), the bees are beginning to store nectar and backfill.
|Happily, this goldenrod is in full bloom.|
By the way, that's the thing that stinks about beekeeping -- you sort of have to be a fortune teller. It's not really enough to look at how the bees are doing today; you have to predict what things will look like in a month, 2 months, 3 months down the road. In spring, you're planning for fall & winter. In winter, you're planning for spring. If I could have one superpower, I'd pick the ability to travel through space and time -- or mind control because that's pretty flipping fantastic too.
|Buddleia is another great plant to fill the July-August gap|
I've been debating whether to feed or not. On the one hand, I don't have enough honey to feed, and I hate feeding syrup -- it's messy, it attracts robbers & pests, and it shortens the bees' lifespans, which is exactly what I don't want going into winter. On the other hand, it's been a poor year overall, and I worry they won't collect enough nectar to make it through winter. After a night of tossing and turning, I've settled on a course of reckless optimism and will wait to see how things shake out. The bees are storing nectar now, so maybe they'll surprise me. However, if they're still light at the end of our fall flow, October & November should still be warm enough to top them up or give them some sugar.
|A pretty garden passed during this morning's walk|
|Random bunny in my yard, but it's so gosh darn cute!|