Boxing day

Dan and I went to the woods to change the cards in the cameras and to see how the bees were doing, in particular, to see whether they needed any food. They hadn't touched their Fondabee, so we left that in there, hoping this means they have enough stores.

Dan immediately noticed that Colony 2 were upset. It was relatively warm, about 10°C, but he noticed they weren't foraging, but were flying around the entrance. When I opened up the hive, I could smell a faint scent of bananas, which Dan confirmed is the attack pheromone. They were also making a sort of 'crunchy' sounding buzz, which also wasn't right.

We wondered if we'd arrived just after a visit from a predator, but nothing on the trail camera suggested that. I'll check on them in a day or two.

In any case, with this and the rain we've been getting lately, it's not yet been a good day for oxalic acid treatment. An email from the National Bee Unit recommends checking varroa drops given the effect of the mild autumn. Namely, some queens have been laying well and colony numbers are up. This means more potential for varroa and more need to avoid starvation. Our mite drop seems low and the fondant hasn't been touched, but we will need to do the treatment the next day that it makes sense to.

But, stepping back a bit, we're now past Midwinter and the colonies look like they are doing well. Though climate patterns don't quite mean that this is the halfway point, I'm getting more and more confident that come the Spring, we'll have two healthy colonies.