The central part of New York State has cold winters, way too cold for honey bees in an unprotected nest. Nevertheless, the nest in the photos was found last week by Pam and her boyfriend, Jay, in that chilly part of the country. The nest was nine feet off the ground in a box elder tree. Silly bees.
According to Pam, the nighttime temperatures are down in the 20-30°F range and the daytime temperatures are hovering around the 50°F mark. Knowing the bees were in trouble, Jay built a box for them. Pam explained that they cut the branch on both sides of the comb, and then fit the branch into the box, screwing both ends of the branch into the walls of the box while allowing enough space for the combs to hang free. Then they moved the hive to their orchard, about a half-mile away.
The hive now faces southeast and is protected from prevailing winds by a woodpile. Since the photos were taken, they have raised the hive up off the ground and spent the night making sugar cakes.
Now here’s a question for you creative beekeepers out there: How can they feed the sugar patties to the bees with no top bars to support them? It seems like they need some sort of a platform immediately above the cluster, but I don’t see how to do that. Any ideas? They really want to give these bees a chance, so I know they will appreciate your ideas.