Gave an Apifonda (2,5kg) packet to all hives except #9 where still 2/3 left and #3 where still 1/2 left and #6 (in Espoo). Now also gave one pack to hive #2. Need to wait for warm weather before I open the Espoo hive and add the Apifonda pack - Some bees tend to come out when you open the top and I don't want them to get out in cold weather.
Apifonda is a sugar-based food that is given to bees during the winter, if their own stocks of honey run low. A colony of bees can die within a matter of days if they run out of food. The early spring is a risky time of year as natural food supplies might be low but the bees are active and using up energy.
We brought hive #7 back to Espoo, for the garden. I'm watching them now - they emerge the moment the sun hits the hive. Not so much for them to forage on here yet but there are copious amounts of willow on the other side of the stream which they will no doubt locate very quickly. They also seem pretty keen on the neighbour's crocus which are now in full bloom.
From our living room window we can see the blue tits, robins and the blackbirds hanging around the hive. We have seen them picking up and eating dead bees from the ground but we're pretty sure they are also taking out live bees. It will be interesting to see if the bees fight back. When I have a bit more time, I'll try to get some photos.
Terrible photo, a bit fuzzy, but great to see the girls are out there! The activity around the hives was amazing and the noise quite deafening. There are no leaves on the trees yet so, on a still day like today, all you can hear are the bees, the birds and the occasional tractor. It was +14C this afternoon, wind still, bright and sunny. An excellent foraging day.
Peter mixed the oxalic acid solution but we decided to wait until it was dark to open the hives. Oxalic acid occurs naturally in vegetables like rhubarb and spinach and is effective is reducing varroa mite infestations. The most important treatment is in winter, but professional bee-keepers also recommend a quick spray in the spring.
This photo was taken on the alder, down by the lake, but there were also bees on the hazelnut catkins (we have plenty of those). The willow, which are almost but not quite in flower, are a better source of pollen, and then the dandelions will flower and we will be racing to build up the hives and make more room.
I noticed a large swarm of bees hovering over a fallen spruce, down near the storage container. Peter reckons they were looking for honeydew.