Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Feeding the Bees
Last night I attended my very first beekeepers meeting. I have been keeping bees for one full year but have only recently felt comfortable enough in this pursuit to join the Pierce County Beekeepers. Although I was obviously new only 2 of the members, both female, took the time to welcome me. If there is one thing I've learned from pipe club, when you have a new person at a meeting, welcome them and encourage them. You want them to have a positive experience and a desire to come back and be a part of your organization. I did finally track down the person who collects the dues and became a paying member. I even bought my hat. I really wanted one of those nifty apprentice patches for my bee suit but was told emphatically "no". They are only for those who have taken the class and are certified. Instead of just telling me no, it would've been more encouraging to say, "I'm sorry, these are only for those who've graduated from that class...BUT the next class starts.....". I am gung ho to take any and all beekeeping classes but right now I have no idea when they are offered. I wasn't able to locate that information on the Pierce County Beekeepers Assoc. web site.
Last night was their annual potluck picnic, which was held indoors. There seemed to be a nice turnout although I overheard that there are usually more people. There was lots of good food, including some awesome smoked salmon. After dinner they had a mock honey judging demonstration....although no one really participated. Maybe because this is such a bad year and no one has any honey? There was also a fun auction for some beekeeping equipment. I didn't win anything. I had to restrain myself from bidding on the queen grafting set up. It'll be a while before I get to that stage, but it was so tempting.
All in all I had an enjoyable time. I gleaned some useful information. Mainly that this is a bad year for the bees and I better be vigilant in my feeding if I want them to be strong enough to survive the coming winter. The reason they are draining the top feeders so fast is because they are starving. I am going to use the jar feeders, instead, because they are easier for me to keep on top of and rotate. I also remembered that I had purchased some Bee-Pro pollen replacement...way back when I first ordered my wooden ware, but had never even cracked the seal. It would be a crying shame for my bees to starve when I have lots of food right here, in the house. I mixed up a couple of pollen patties and placed those inside the hives, between the top 2 boxes. That will provide some much needed protein. It takes 16 days for a queen to hatch so if I did have one in the works, she may already be out and about. If not, she'll be out sometime this week. Fingers crossed. I am going to open the hives and peek around on the 15th or 16th. That should give her time to mate and begin laying. If I open the hive and find nothing but drones, we're up a creek.