Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Honey, it's warming up outside!

i wouldn't say that winter is officially over, but we have been getting a few really nice days in between the crappy one.  On those days when it's over 60, we check on the bees.

We've been eager to check them all winter, but it has to be over 50 degrees outside to open the hive.  So we've had to patiently wait and hope for the best. It's not unusual to lose a few hives over the winter. We started the winter with 4 main hives (2 deeps, 2 regular) and 3 nucs. We had try to go into winter with 4 hives and 4 nucs, but one of our splits refused to accept a new queen and we eventually had to combined it back with it's regular hive.

When the temperatures are warm enough for the bees to fly, we know it's safe to do an inspection of the hive.  There isn't much pollen available yet, but the bees leave the hive to poop and clean out any dead bees that didn't survive the winter.

Inspection went well!  All of our hives survived the winter and appear to be thriving. We found all the queens and spotted new larvae and capped brood in all hives and nucs!!   The bees still have plenty of stores to get them into to the next honey flow.  So we should be able to pull a lot of honey this spring.

In the Spring, we have to watch for signs that the bees may swarm. We have two extra nuc boxes available if we need to split. We also have two queen castles and will attempt to raise our own queens.

Just this week i've started to see a few things blooming.  The bees are beginning to bring in some pollen from their daily flights.  Dandelions are the first spring food for bees..  As more things begin to bloom they should begin filling frames with pollen and nectar.  We are entering our second season with bees. It's has been a learning process for sure, but i'm really eager to see how they do this year.  i've been exploring lots of different recipes and uses for honey, and can't wait for our first honey harvest. We do plan to have some for sale in our Shady Grove Homestead store later this summer.


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