For the past month, the bees have been experiencing a “dearth” of nectar because of a seasonal lack of flowers that accompanies the heat of summer. All bees during this time become more aggressive and will steal resources from weaker colonies. To ward off these attacks, bees also become more defensive. This combination makes the beekeeper’s job more challenging. To prevent robbing, we need to work more quickly to prevent robbing, and we need to smoke more and move deliberately, to prevent antagonizing the bees. It can be a delicate balance and no matter what, by the time we are in the last hive doing inspections, there are just a lot of “spicy” bees swirling around the apiary!
This week we continued to feed the bees. We changed out three jar feeders for three new hive top pan feeders from Mann Lake Beekeeping Supplies, Inc. These feeders allow us to place more feed at once on the hives and only go out once per week to feed and inspect. We also reduced hive 2 down to one deep and two medium boxes. This hive is bulging with bees such that we will likely take some more out and place them in hives 3 and 4 to equalize the numbers of bees in all our hives later in the season.