Suddenly Spring!

A gorgeous Saturday and the big job was to do the first post-winter bee hive checkin. I’ve been watching the hives for the past month or so and seeing lots of activity. They’ve been on the to do list for awhile but when I had time, the weather was too rainy, or windy, or cold. Today was perfect! I donned the suit, fired up the smoker and headed down mostly just to remove the feeders and see if there were babies.

I fed them three times this winter: twice in December/January time frame with a thick syrup (2:1) and then in February with a lighter 1:1. The feeders were empty, and both hives had started building comb with lots of honey along the underside. I took them off, scraped up the excess comb and honey and put them to the side. They’ll clean them out.

I’m happy to report that both hives have LOTS of bees but they were not overly aggressive. I used the smoker, of course, but they mostly left me alone as I worked, too busy with their own Spring chores to worry much about me. And, I think I have gotten less intrusive, feeling more confident about moving boxes and pulling up frames.

They seemed to have a fair amount of honey and pollen stores and bees were flying in with bulging legs. It’s the Spring flowering season with fruit trees and early flowers providing plenty of foraging.

There was also evidence of brood in all stages including eggs and larvae so that shows evidence of a queen. I am not good at locating the queen and did not want to pull out lots of frames. This was a check in after all. I did switch the boxes for one of the hives, putting the deep on the bottom and the medium on the top.

Next week, I want to replace one of the hive boxes on the other hive as it is in pretty bad condition, starting to rot at the top. I’m also going to put on the honey supers. I may look a little more closely then since I will have to pull all the frames out of the box I’m replacing and see if I can find the queen.

We’ve been enjoying our honey all winter and if I get that much or even more this year, I’ll be a happy camper.

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