Monday, May 5, 2014
Ready for the Season
Everyone is in their "refreshed" boxes. I'd like to say, WOW - what a job this does on the "sticky propolis problem" in the hive! It sure makes the beekeeping much easier - much less PRYING out frames - much less bee crushing. And like I indicated in an earlier article....you get to have a REALLY GOOD LOOK at every frame as they're moved over.
ATHENA, the only west facing hive has come out of winter relatively SMALL...but they're ready for a population explosion. For it's size, it has 2 to 3 full frames of capped brood. Good laying pattern - full frames.
THYME, I believe had a bit of nosema coming out of winter. Comparatively, the population is better than ATHENA....but the capped brood patterns are small among the frames. It's not "spotty" - as in a poor layer.....she's just not covering the frames from side to side, top to bottom. It could be that with our cold nights (still)...the queen is just laying enough - relative to the resources available.
PERSEPHONE is PHENOMENAL. If there were flowers (nectar)....this hive would be ready to SUPER! JAM PACKED FULL OF BEES and brood. My concern for this hive is just trying to "stay ahead" of it - as far as it's propensity to "feel out of room" and make swarm cells. My (in the back of my mind) desire is to SPLIT THIS HIVE for it's genetics....BUT....we're so far behind already this season. If I split - it will be next weekend when the two packages are due (pandora, and eos). A split in the second weekend of May - will mean (potential - it's always a big IF) a naturally requeened hive the second weekend in JUNE. JUNE, JULY, AUGUST, ~SEPTEMBER.....is this enough time for these two hives to recover in population to get through the coming winter? ...and then there's always a chance for a "blow-out" - when the queenless hive doesn't requeen. Also - Persephone got ANOTHER hive body switch - empty frames/cells, put back on top....to encourage the continuance of egg laying.
PANDORA and EOS are awaiting their packages. 2 Russian packages from Walter T Kelly this year. Trying something different.
And last but not least, EOSTRE. Eostre is coming out of her 4th or 5th winter....and she's as NASTY AS EVER. (and population wise - she's as PHENOMENAL as ever) There's just really something different about these bees. Last year - I pinched the queen and requeened her with a "Miksa Banded Italian". All I can figure is they promptly killed her and requeened with their own - because nothing in their temperament changed. These bees are STICKY! and FAST MOVING!. As soon as you pop the top...you've got 20 to 30 bees on your veil....and they're all in STING mode. Last fall - this hive propolised shut the entire front entrance along the bottom except for a couple holes. WHO DOES THAT? Whatever they are....they're consistently making it through winter....ahhh....to split or not to split.....do I really want to DEAL with this behavior? This is always the hive that I save for last...and have to stand, stare and get my courage up before approaching - they really are that nasty.
Other beekeeping notes: Noted: newly emerged drones. I DO the "drone cutout" for mite control...but decided to let them keep a couple hatches of drones this early spring for requeening purposes. I'm not only thinking of my own hives - but other area hives that might be requeening. Remember, your beekeeping practices don't just apply to your hives. Bees are a social insect with a "3 mile distance radius" - you're part of a beekeeping community.