Monday, May 25, 2009

Spring build-up

May 16th: We did a hive inspection and found that both colonies seemed to be thriving and needed more space. Since this is peak swarming season around here, we wanted to be careful and make sure they didn't feel crowded. The spring fruit trees were also peaking a bit later than usual this year, so we also wanted to try to capture some of the nectar flow.

Click here to see a 3D version of this picture (use red-cyan 3d glasses).

We added the third brood box to the new colony. On the survivor colony we installed the queen excluder and the first honey super. During the inspection of this hive I caught a brief look at the queen, which hadn't been seen in almost a year. She is still productive, but the brood patterns weren't quite as impressive as last year.

Honeybee on Cherry Blossom
Honeybee on our cherry blossoms.

Honeybee on Chokecherry blooms
Honeybee on our chokecherry blooms.

May 25th: We've had quite a bit of rain and the bees have been busy. I opened the hives up briefly to see how things were progressing. On the new colony I saw some new larvae in the recently installed frame, but no capped honey. I was hoping this hive would be ready for the first honey super, but it was not.

On the survivor colony I hoped to see some progress with the honey, but there was 0% capped and it seemed as if those bees returning to the hive were simply ignoring the new super and going straight down to the brood chamber with their loads. Perhaps it was not quite as ready as I expected.

June is just around the corner and with all the recent rain there should be a good nectar flow coming.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Springtime Blossoms

Red Columbine
Red Columbine in our cutting garden.

First Iris of Spring
The first iris of spring.

Lilacs up close (3D)
3D Lilac blossoms (you'll need the 3D anaglyph glasses to view)

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Queen Updates

We opened up the new colony of hygienic bees today to check to see if the queen we released last week has been accepted and is productive. There was good news as she has been busy and there was some good brood now at various stages. Here is the picture:
It looks like the new queen was ready and waiting and is now working hard.

On to hive #1 and last year's Minnesota Hygienic colony; they seem to have fully survived the winter and we finally found the queen today. There was some good brood pattens on some frames, but also some spotty brood patterns on others. We rotated the deep boxes this time too.