Winter prep begun
I was able to get out to the hives on Sept. 20, 2019. I was pleased to see that the bees had mostly replaced the honey I had taken - meaning the empty frames I had put back were filled back up with goldenrod honey. Here is the inside of the white hive. I put two inner covers in this hive, a solid one in the back where it is empty, and a notched on in the middle where they have honey stores. I left the front as it is because they have burr comb and as you can see it is firmly glued down with propolis. They have reduced their entrance in the front with propolis. I will add a mouse screen in later October. Otherwise, I do not plan to open this hive anymore this year.
The blue hive had also mostly re-filled the empty frames I returned to it. I flipped its inner covers so the entrance holes go directly into the hive rather than the bees using the inner cover holes. This is so I can just open the lid and put a blanket in for insulation in October without exposing the bees to the cold. I will also insulate that hive and add a mouse screen when I put in the blanket. I also will not open that hive except to put the blanket in. I left a jar of honey for the home owner and now will just do my last prep and wait out the winter.
Another strange wrinkle appeared this week. The state of Michigan decided that 9 cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis, with three fatalities equaled a public health emergency in our state of nine million people. To respond to this dire emergency, they decided to aerial spray for mosquitoes starting on September 28, 2019 in the evening. Yes, it is currently 56 degrees and rainy on Sept. 28th, five hours before the spraying is scheduled to start, and no I have seen no mosquitoes for days, but what do I know? The landowner chose to "opt out" using a form the state supplied, but none of us know if they will really honor those requests or not. As an added precaution, he is going to put a sheet over my hives tonight. Thank you! Such craziness. I am more concerned about the residue on wet foliage when the bees do go out to forage after the spray, but there is really little I can do. So, if this actually happens, I have no idea what impact it will have on my bees, the other fauna in our area, the fish in the water ways, etc. Stay tuned on this one!