Scoop #1: Bees are out and about after a rough winter. The ones who survived are going strong and many hives are stocked with honey, pollen and brood. It’s looking good. Check it out:
Scoop #2: The ones who didn’t survive froze to death. Among those who took the plunge, was my swarm – the strong ones! The ones that started my bee career! The ones from which we didn’ t take any honey. At the end of last summer, they were going stronger than the rest. The problem with cold temperatures, is that bees will hover over their brood, and in a paralyzed-like state, won’t be able to make it over to their supplies of honey which if they had consumed, they would probably have survived. Despite their strength in numbers and honey stock, they were exposed to more wind, and up on bedrock while the other hives were tucked in a corner of a thick hedge or in the backyard propped against the wall of our house. Lesson learned from winter 2013: better insulation next time. I’m tempted to try Peel n’ Stick with some rigid insulation rather than this bubble wrap.
Scoop #3: We sold two hives.
Scoop #4: We split a hive which we have currently relocated at a friend’s place.
Scoop #5: We bought a Queen! She’s a New Zealander. She was $35. Yup, that’s what ya get for squashing ‘em by accident.
Scoop #6: I found two queens on my own today!!! And heck that’s hard sometimes. I think that officially qualifies me for season 2 of the Beekeeper’s certification 🙂
Check her out. Can you find her?
Scoop #7: Swarm season is here. It’s that busy time of year when the bees are feeling broody all around and housing upgrades take place. Beekeepers can prevent their bees from taking off (often to your neighbors dismay when they see a huge “wasp nest” on their tree, or so they think) by doing the following:
1) Check your hives every 7 to 10 days. Make sure brood is present in all stages (eggs to larvae) Check to make sure that no new queen cups, or cells are in the works. If you see one or a few, the colony is preparing themselves to take off. At this point you should make a split. There are various ways to make splits but this is how we handled the situation today.
2) We chose to isolate the queen, rather than the queen cell, in the nuc. We left the biggest queen cell in the old hive and squashed the remaining queen cells. After adding a frame of pollen, honey, brood and one laced in sugar water, we relocated the nuc with the queen about 5km away at a friend’s place. We will pick them up in 7 days when they’ve settled nicely in their new home.
Scoop #8: Summa summa! Cheers to Summertime fun!