Sunday, May 10, 2015

Brood & Beer

I got an email from USPS saying that my packages were scheduled to arrive on Saturday, so I anxiously waited around on pins and needles yesterday for my delivery carrier to arrive. When she did, I made a mad dash to the mailbox at the end of my drive to find that she didn't have them! Waaah! I called the post office, and nothing. Hopefully, they'll arrive by Monday, but I'm now very concerned about their condition.

Since I didn't have any new bees, I consoled myself with an inspection on Austeja. We seem to have gone straight from winter to summer here. The last two weeks have been in the 80s to 90s every day. Being a summer person, I'm completely ok with this change. The bees don't seem to mind at all, either, as they are still busy hauling pollen and nectar into the hive. However, although all of the bars I'd added last week had some comb on them, the bees are not building nearly as quickly as they did last year. The trees are not making nearly as much pollen either. I suspect the lack of rain we've experienced the last couple of weeks is behind this. A little rain would make things much better for everyone.

Last week, there were three bars full of curing nectar. Yesterday, only one of them was full. Guess they used the rest of the nectar for brood. Although I mourn the loss of the honey, they'll have a much larger population for the next round of blooms, which is a good thing. Horsechestnuts are beginning to bloom. Wild raspberries and blueberries are making buds. The tulip trees and basswood should start next month along with clover. It will be prime honey making time, so I'm glad their population is ramping up now.

Some brood and pollen. Looking good, eh?

Oh! Beer! I almost forgot. After I'd closed up the hive, my DH came out to check on me. He'd been enjoying a cold one and still had it in his hand. Although he was standing about 15 feet away, the girls were not happy. Quite a few went after him, and even though he kept retreating at a rapid pace, the "temperance movement" refused to let up. Tip of the day: Don't drink and hive.

Today, I decided not to worry too much about my packages since the post office assured me that they wouldn't get any more incoming deliveries until Monday. Instead, we visited the Litchfield daffodils. If you're ever in CT during April or May, I highly recommend a trip. In 1941, the Morosani family planted 10,000 daffodil bulbs. Every year since, the bulbs have doubled, been divided, and been replanted. It's a truly spectacular sight.

Tomorrow, though, is another day and I'll start fretting then. Fingers crossed that my girls arrive alive.

Litchfield daffodils -- they just go on and on and on


  1. I hope your packages come tomorrow - I can just imagine the stress you are feeling. Kim Flottum said that on a Langstroth hive, you should should have 2 extra supers for the bees to store nectar in. During the day, they fill the supers with nectar to help it evaporate, then they reduce it down to one super of honey. (hopefully I'll get a post of his talk done this week). Maybe that's what you saw.

    Your DH sounds like my son - an unhappy magnet for bees. Must be doubly troubling since he's allergic. I'll have to see if my sister has seen the Litchfield daffodils - I'd never heard of them before.

    Did you feed Austeja last year? I wonder if that's the difference in the comb building. I hope your bees come on Monday and that you have a safe and happy install!
    I'll look forward to hearing all about it!

    1. Can't wait to read your notes on Kim Flottum's talk! That must have been fascinating!

      Good point about them moving the honey. That's certainly a possibility. In any case, it was delicious! (Couldn't help myself. I poked a finger into the comb and took a taste. Mmmm!)

      An unhappy magnet! Ha! Yes, he is that indeed, but I really do think the beer was the extra push my girls needed to just fly off the handle. I remember Chris Harp mentioning that when he gives demonstrations, he doesn't allow anyone who's recently imbibed to come near the hives. As I recall, it wasn't just that drunk people do dumb things, but that bees are very sensitive to the odor.

      Hmmmm.... good questions about feeding. I did feed Austeja last year, but she would have been just a package last year, so she had a lot fewer bees than she does now. Also, checking my notes, I installed her toward the end of May when the flow was stronger. Maybe if was a combination of nectar, syrup, and an urgency to build comb that really had them moving last year. Maybe, if my packages come today, I can start an experiment to see who builds faster. IF they come.


Thank you for your comment! I can't wait to hear what you think!