I went to check on the hive this morning, and saw some good signs. There were dozens of bees eating the sugar I had laid out “Mountain Camp” style, even though the temperature is about 43F. Since there was little to no wind, I took a minute to snap some pictures for posterity and to help remind me of what the hive looked like today. Let there be no doubt that they have plenty to eat!
Last weekend, Cape Cod experienced the 5th worst snowstorm on record, named “Nemo”. There was about 2 feet of snow, well above the bottom of the hive, thus sealing them in for a few days. Add to that sustained winds of 60 mph, and I was worried about the hive. As I was stranded in Boston after the storm, I couldn’t shovel out the hive, but they seemed to make it though the storm without incident. As you can see from the picture, a week later there is no snow on the ground.
In the picture, the bees on top of the sugar had come up through the slot in the inner cover, and had tunneled a hole about the size of golf ball though the sugar. I did notice the sugar had a crusty layer which I am sure is from the humidity in the hive escaping upward and slowly getting the raw sugar wet. I didn’t see anything resembling a wet hive, so I don’t think it’s anything to worry about. On the contrary, having a crust on the sugar allows it stay in place so they can work with it. The yellow powder is MegaBee, which has some protein for them as the queen should be laying more as they days get longer.
I also checked both side vents to make sure they were clear and venting air and humidity. The one on the right had a bit of sugar in it, but the one on the left gave me a startle when I saw bees coming and going through it. Turns out they had built a little tunnel under the sugar, and out through the hole. Even in the dead of winter they are still working. I wish had that much energy!