Today was a very different kind of Saturday for us. The boys and I did start out at the farmer's market as usual while David was out at the building site preparing our garden plot. We decided to go ahead and move it since it got flooded recently, just in case we have a super rainy Summer. When I got home I fed Logan and then left the boys to hang out with David and went to tend to some family stuff for my Dad. When I got home from there I nursed Logan again and then packed the car full of bee gear for my first hive check of the season. I had opened the tops to see if they made it through the Winter a week or so ago and since it warmed back up today I was able to check to see how much honey they had left and if the queens were laying again.
In the photo above, the short hives are the two that didn't make it. There are some bees there but they are just robbers since there is honey still on the frames in there. The tall hives are the survivors (I put feeders on today inside those top super boxes). I opened the white hive, or The Derby Hive as I like to call it since it was the swarm we caught on Derby Day last year, first because the yellow hive has always been feistier and I didn't want to hang around too long after rousing them.
There were a lot of dead bees in the hive in the bottom box. I cleaned them out and assessed the honey situation. They had a small amount of honey still but I did not see eggs, larva, capped brood or any other signs of a queen except for this:
My phone would not focus on it very well, I guess because the bees were moving so much around it, but up at the top there is one lone queen cell. I closed the hive back up, added the feeder and moved on to the next hive.
The yellow hive had a ton of honey left and is thriving! Lots of capped brood, larva, eggs, workers flying in with pollen in their baskets. They seemed good to go. They went easy on me and I left without any stings this time. I am wondering if I'll be able to say the same come harvest time the Fall. They started getting worked up by the time I was finished inspecting the top box so I did not move down to the bottom box/bottom board to clean out any dead bees from the Winter for them. I figure if they are going to be feisty they can do all of that hard work themselves. Haha.
When I was done I felt so alive. It is a hobby that I truly enjoy. The bees are fascinating and the fact that you just never really know what you'll find when you pop that inner cover makes it that much more exciting. It also helped to have so much time to myself today. It really recharged my introvert batteries and I felt great all evening. I think I had been needing that more than I even realized!
I called my mentor to let him know what I found in The Derby Hive and he said it was kind of bad news. They lost their queen at some point and tried to raise another but the problem is that it is too early in the season for drones (male bees) to be around to mate a queen. He said he has a shipment of queens coming in for his own hives on the 10th so he is going to spare one for me. He will come and help me get her settled in that day. Then when the next shipment of queens come he'll give me another and we will use it to split that yellow hive leaving us with three. The last white hive we plan to leave empty just in case we get called to catch a swarm this year.
When I got home, David passed the kid baton and headed over to work on the house. They are kicking it into high gear with this warmer weather!
Garden and bees and house, oh my! This is going to be a very busy, exciting, and fruitful Summer!!
Flashback! Here's what we were up to one year ago today: "Stuck On Winter"
Two years ago today: "Toddler Talk"
And three years ago today: "2 Months Old"
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