Yesterday, Great Grandma texted to let me know the bees were taking over the bird seed (looking for a protein source). I was overjoyed, but cautiously hopeful that it was my bees. I drove north today and confirmed it. I was even more thrilled to discover that both hives made it.
Abigail's hive was the one I'd left the honey super on, in addition to a layer of sugar. I didn't go deeply into the hive, because it was cool and windy, but there were lots of bees. Their emergency sugar was almost gone, but they were docile, so not too concerned.
Caroline's hive had no additional super of honey, and only the two brood boxes. Their emergency sugar was barely touched. Although, it was clear, both hives needed the extra sugar. (Something I'm hoping to avoid needing too much of next year.)
I'm unsure why the difference - whether Abigail's hive was bigger in size with the super, so they needed larger numbers overall, or if they have started brood rearing earlier. Or if it is even something else. But it's fascinating to see the difference in their needs.
I put 2 gallons of liquid sugar syrup on each of the hives, because I won't be back to see them before our Spring Break trip. I am hopeful that will get them through to the Spring buds, when they'll be able to forage on their own. My overall goal is to minimize sugar as much as possible, but would rather have live bees than dead ones. It's definitely a balance!
In other words, all is well in the apiary so far. I had ordered 3 more packages for Spring, thinking I'd lose at least one of them. Which means it looks like I'm heading into the land of 5 hives this Spring. I wonder if the Crazy Cat Lady rules apply, and more than 3 hives makes me the Crazy Bee Lady...