I decided that I had better get some more Carniolan queens on hand for people that need immediate shipment. It's great to be sold out of the Iowa queens in advance, but a lot of people need quicker delivery. Therefore, I have shipped in a supply of quality Carniolans that will be available for $24 each during the month of July/early August. We've used these queens for years in spring splits before the Iowa weather allows us to produce our queens, so we can vouch for them due to extensive experience with them.
I'm still taking orders for the 2nd half of August on the Iowa Queens.
Thanks again for all the calls--it's fun to hear from people all over the nation looking for a good Carni!
And because every blog needs a picture , here's a picture of me with the winning bidder (Minoa Uffelman) holding 5 lbs of Pure Iowa Honey at the Agricultural History Society's annual conference in Springfield, Illinois this past June. Income from the auction supports graduate students traveling to the conference.
I have a lot of coneflowers at my place, and it has been fun to watch the bees working them intensely. I never noticed many honeybees on them in the past, but they seem to like them in the Cedar Rapids area. Then again, I've never had this type of flower in my yard, so I have many more opportunities to catch them at work.
The good news is that the weather has cooperated with the bees lately. After a cool and wet June, July has been warmer and sunnier. (Today there is rain on the radar.) While there is not yet a respectable crop in the boxes, the honey season is showing some promise. We've been cutting up cut comb for over a week, and there are dozens more boxes that should be finished in the next couple of weeks. Let's hope the honey keeps coming!
On the queen front, I am now booked until July 25 for new shipments. That is, new shipments can go on July 25th. I continue to be booked a week or two in advance. Mondays in August are still open.
Here is an image of the fresh cut comb--it is my favorite bee product, even though I actually eat more of the liquid honey. It's often a challenge to produce high quality sections, so it's pretty wonderful when bees and beekeeper are able to work together and make it happen
Thanks for all the calls on queens so far this year--it seems to increase every summer. I'm working on getting more mating nucs in a new yard to help keep up with demand. Right now the earliest date I can ship new orders is June 27 (Monday). It's a good idea to order several days in advance if possible.
I also wanted to post a couple of pictures that Alex took of a Carniolan queen laying eggs in a new comb. A lot of the queens are really extended this time of year because they are laying so many eggs, but this one seems a little longer than usual.
The queen yard is back in action. Queens will be available throughout the summer--I wrap up queen production at the end of August. The breeding pool is predominantly Carniolan.
The queens are $18 each (plus shipping/handling), and they are all marked. I ship throughout the continental USA. Monday is the usual shipping day, but sometimes I send a few out on Tuesday or Wednesday--especially if it's an express delivery.
I have relocated to the Cedar Rapids area, and people are welcome to call ahead in order to arrange pickup if that is desired.
So far, the weather has cooperated well enough for afternoon mating flights, so fertilization has not been a problem this year.
Good luck as the honey flows get underway!
The long-awaited warmup seems to be here. We're looking at 30s-50s for the next several days, so the bees should have multiple chances to fly in the next week. Dad and Alex are going around checking survival rates. Some yards are almost all alive, and several yards are pretty depressing. In another few days we should be able to calculate our survival rates and make more precise plans. It looks like we'll be keeping some packages this year.
The big melt hasn't come yet, but it's probably going to be messy when it arrives. Some of the snow piles are ten feet high along the roads. It always amazes me how our gravel roads can transform into several inches of sloshy mud.
Right now we have to pull or walk in the yards with syrup buckets, but soon we'll be able to drive in and pump syrup directly into the division board feeders. Hopefully the bees won't be too hungry this spring, but the pump makes life easier when there are lots of hungry hives.
Here is the portable syrup system on the back of the flatbed:
This is the tank and pump in a smaller F-150. Since it sits on a small pallet, it is easy to load with a forklift.