It takes us about a month to get through all of our bees during splitting season. Around April 15, there's really no problem with having the winter wraps still on the hive. Warm weather in May, however, can make the hive decidedly stifling when the winter insulation is still attached. The image below shows a bee beard that would be pretty excessive even during the July/August peak of summer heat. Lots of new bees, warm weather, and winter insulation can keep the hive confines a little toastier than we desire.
I'm just about done splitting, thankfully. I'm looking forward to getting the honey supers out en masse.
On a separate note, a fellow about a mile down the road called me over to retrieve a swarm that was on the ground. It had moved around his property for several days before winding up in a pile of mulch. I presume the queen is dead or injured--honeybees don't like to cluster on the ground. Anyway, I got most of them into the box and I'll let everyone know the outcome. Here is the moment after I placed a hive in front of them. They quickly determined that my box of frames constituted a far superior situation for their living environment.
Good news. I just pulled the happy pollinators out of Wilson's Orchard near Iowa City, and the bees look surprisingly well-fed. There were a number of cool rainy days during the two-week bloom, so I had steeled myself for unpleasantly light hives at pickup. They must have made the most of their warmer windows of opportunity. The hives weren't light at all.
Here is one of the strongest hives laced with apple nectar:
In other happy news, I'm pretty much done with the garage project. I've stalled at staining the window and door trim, but we're thoroughly painted, insulated, and electrified. Many winters of woodworking in a warm environment await!
A couple of "before" pictures are shown in the spring projects post.
Could a bee exhibit have a more clever name than "What's the Buzz?" The New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces just installed a new exhibit that offers insights into the past and present of beekeeping. I offered some help with text and topics, so I've seen some of the images now that it is ready for the public. Here is the title image and the acknowledgement panel.
Check it out if you are on the cultural trail of the honeybee!
The 2016 package bee season is underway! For people interested in acquiring bees for this year, there is still some space on the second load that will arrive in early May. The early April load is already stacked up in our Lynnville building waiting for their owners to get them.
After all of these years, we also finally have a nice sign posted to let people know they've arrived at the Lynnville location!
Well, I'm not quite done with a few of the spring chores, but there are major forward steps on the tasks I mentioned in the last post.
The Lynnville team got the new deck on the trailer and looking quite fancy. My dad kindly drilled almost all of the holes to put it together. Now I have it over in Mount Vernon and ready to haul.
The garage interior still needs some paint and a visit from the electrical fairy, but it is getting very close. Here is Matt putting on a new coat of paint:
And here is a finished wall with a couple of windows that I built into the north wall. I like light and seeing who is coming and going in the driveway:
My youngest worker became very fond of DeWalt drivers during the garage project--I hope it sticks with him! Of course, he has on a trusty Mann Lake hat as well.