Thursday, March 10, 2016

A Two-Day Difference

Tuesday was a balmy 64 deg F, and the bees could feel spring in the air. Walking out to the hives, the air literally hummed with the sound of their tiny buzzing wings. Loads of bees were outside making orientation flights, bringing in pollen, and enjoying the sunshine. There were at least three different pollen colors -- orange (crocus), pale yellow (skunk cabbage, I think), and tan (???).  However, the pollen loads were still disappointingly light.

Yesterday, the thermometer reached an unbelievable 82 deg F. Unfortunately, I didn't get to enjoy any of it as I was laid up in bed with the flu and an even higher temperature of my own. Thus, my plans to build hive stands and check on the bees were completely derailed. But with another gorgeous day today (72 deg), I vowed not to let a little fatigue keep me away from the hives.

The difference that two days makes is positively astonishing. Today, the girls' pollen bags were so fat that they had trouble getting the pollen past the mouse guards. They're starting to get the pollen "stripes" that I associate with skunk cabbage season, too.

Even though this isn't a great photo, you can see the pollen that couldn't make it through the screen.

Lots of pollen from crocus and swamp cabbage.

I love seeing the pollen "stripes"

Apparently, Elsa and Austeja do not appreciate having their hives stuffed with straw and are trying to drag it out of the entrances. Unable to pull it out completely, they are propolising the straw.

Straw being propolised in the entrance.

To help the bees out, I pulled the mouse guards off all of the entrances. We might still get some freezing weather, but I think the danger of mice entering the hive is, to borrow a phrase from my eldest child, "probably maybe" over.

Although I'd love to do a little more spring maintenance today, I have to acknowledge my limits. We're supposed to have another day in the high 60's next Wednesday, and those hive chores can "probably maybe" hold for at least another week. The change in two days has been so remarkable that I can't wait to see the difference that a week makes!


  1. It's been warm here in Virginia as well. I pull a frame from our TBH's brood nest, and it was covered with capped cells. I rekon a good 1500+ bees will emerge from this frame along in the next week or two. So many bees....

    Hope you're feeling better!

    1. How exciting to see so many capped cells! We're not quite there yet. I opened one of the nucs on Tuesday, and still no brood (not surprising -- my bees seem more responsive to nectar flow than day length).

      Thanks for the well wishes. Lots of sleep, tea and even some light book reading for me, so it's not all bad. :-)

  2. I'm glad to hear your girls are doing well, but sad that you are not. I hope your bees don't catch your flu! ;-) We had a warm day today and my sole hive is doing well. Hope to make a post soon about it. Looks like you'll get a little bit of rain to make the flowers bloom even more! I hope you feel better soon!

    1. LOL! I hope my bees don't get my flu either -- holy cow, a whole hive sneezing all at once... They'd blow their roof off!

      Thanks for the well wishes. I feel like I've spent an entire week at the gym without receiving any of the benefits, but the worst of it is over. In a couple days, I should be right as rain again.

      So glad your bees are doing well!


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