It’s time to check on the ladies of Gwenyn Mel 2 (Honey Bee 2). So I paid the ladies a visit the other day to see how they’re coping with our mild, yet damp winter so far and to check on their food quantities.
This is a normal requirement for a lot of beekeepers alike to ensure that these hard working ladies have enough food to live on and if not, introduce some food into the hive to ensure they make the spring time ready for the next burst in natures life and reproduction cycle.
Honey bees who are being cared for by a beekeeper have been working in partnership through at least, the previous summer, maybe even spring or longer. This usually means that they have spent considerable time working together to build up enough storage of food to ensure their survival through to the next spring.
As for the ladies of Gwenyn Mel 2 and myself, our lives came together in 29th August 2012. For those that are unaware, what this means is that, this is not a lot of time for them to produce enough honey for themselves in their own preparations for the looming cold and damp months (not much different to the summer of 2012 really).
Due to the amount of rain that fell on this area from September on-wards to ensure that there are still lovely ladies in the hive come spring, I needed to introduce an emergency drastic feeding regime.
I have been keeping a close eye on them, more so than I would normally as they live just metres away from my workshop. Always managing to spend some quality time sitting near their home just watching their activity, for which time just seems to fly by as I get absorbed by their behaviour.
Because they have not had enough time or suitable weather conditions to build up their own supply, I have needed to step in and supplement them. Some will agree with me for doing this but some others will not, stating that bees would not normally eat manufactured sugar so therefore I should not feed them and just let nature take its course.
Well personally my plans are to feed them through this winter into spring (if needed) and allow them to build up their own stores next year ready for the winter of 2013, therefore living a more natural life. I must point out that I’m not spending my time with Gwenyn Mel 2 so that I can take their honey, I will leave more than enough for them to survive on. So hopefully next summer will bee a great one and they can bee as natural as possible.
So anyway, back to why I came here… to update you… The food level for the ladies was low, so some fondant was needed. Time to get onto the internet to learn how to make my very own fondant, which is needed this time of year. There was a wonderfully explained video found on how to make fondant which meant I needed to put my chef hat on.
After a few curious looks from onlookers (there’s just no trust when I’m in the kitchen) I proceeded to make a “slight mess” which was fully cleaned up afterwards, there now proudly sits, made by moi, 5 little trays with fondant in readyness to pass onto Gwenyn Mel 2 as and when required.
Yesterday I paid the ladies a visit and placed a small amount (no bigger than a 10 pence piece) of fondant in through the crown board to see their reaction. Within seconds, 2 of the little darlings were busy with their tongues, within a minute, there were a few dozen over the fondant.
Woo hoo… Success…
So as quick as my hands would allow me, I lifted the crown board enough to place the contents of 1 of the trays directly on top of them and lower the crown board again. Staying briefly to watch the ladies and ensure that my home cooking was not a one off, I returned the roof and stepped back.
I think I will check on them quickly later in the week just to gauge how fast they eat this fondant as this is the first time that I have ever needed to do this as previously they were left copious amounts of their own food.
Take care and will speak to you soon
If you are interested, there are a few photos of Gwenyn Mel 2 in their very own photo album which can be found on my facebook page by clicking HERE