Thursday, November 12, 2009

almost ready?

The first thing I saw yesterday as I opened my tar papered hives was this furry little friend, who seems to have found a nice dry place to overwinter. He had some lady friends with him too:

I went to fix a mistake - I had forgotten to make a vent hole at the top, so I had to open the hives and replace the inner covers with vented ones that Ken is kindly letting me borrow. All went well at the first hive, very sleepy/cold bees, no movement. The hole-making went beautifully, as you can see below:

That was the easy hive. I saved my biggest meanest hive for last. These ladies seem to be energized by the cold - I opened them up and they were awake and buzzing and didn't really want me there. The hole-making was not as successful:

It was hard to jam my pocketknife through the tar paper without impaling bees - they were really pissy about a new hole in their house.

While I was there I also remembered to fix my entrance reducers so they're not upside down anymore:

So now we're almost ready! I still want to put some straw bales around them for extra windbreak and insulation, but I thought I'd give it a little while.