And long may she reign

Well, I did two splits with Ceylon and neither one prompted them to make any new queen cells, so I gave up and installed a mail-order queen instead. I had been looking forward to some feral bee stock (they are said to be hardier than the domestics), oh well.┬áJust two days later I’m seeing a lot more activity around the hive – guard bees out in front, foragers flying off, that sort of thing. Which tells me that the colony has perked up a bit and are ready to start believing they might make it through the winter.

(Yes, I know the hives are all leaning separate ways. The ground there is so soft that even though they are on block platforms they keep tipping. My next homesteading project is to build a raised platform for all of them, with cement footings. Some day.)

Another problem I was having with them is that they were refusing to take the sugar syrup I was feeding them with an entrance feeder (you can see an empty one on Darjeeling actually). It would just sit there and sit there and I would end up throwing it out. They need to build up stores lickety split or they won’t survive.

So I decided to move the feeder up to the top of the colony, which is where the bees actually cluster inside. It’s now sitting atop the inner cover – which is a thin sheet with a hole in it that the top cover usually fits over – and as soon as I put it there I saw some bees checking it out and tasting the drops of syrup that fell. Hopefully it will get their attention if it’s right on top of them!

Bonus: the glass jar needs protecting from winds & sun, and the hive can’t just be left with a giant hole on top of it, so I got to put the second deep on over the jar – the one I’d painted & named. Obviously there are no frames in it now so it’s basically just decorative. It’s nice to look at, though, and fantasize that next summer the colony may actually have filled up two deeps for real!

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