Feeling more energetic than I have in days, I ambled outside for a bit of sunshine and watched the bees gathering moisture and whatever else from a failed strawberry planter experiment. It was so beautiful outdoors that impulsively, I started inspecting 5 of the hives. (I left off with Hippolyte the Beest because I was still in pjs -- when you wake up at noon, changing seems a bit pointless.)
|Bees sucking moisture & whatever else from soil in planter|
All the colonies I looked at had eggs today. Elsa, my insulated hive, even had larvae and some capped brood. She was booming actually. Of all the hives I looked at today, she had the most bees -- at least double the size of the next largest colony. Weirdly, she was also the most defensive, and I'm not sure why. Maybe it's the hinged roof. I was standing in the roof's shadow during inspection, and maybe that set her off. One of her girls even popped me on the back of my hand, bringing my all-time total sting count to an even 60.
|Taking a break|
Except for Austeja, all the hives I opened today had loads of honey (avg 4-5 bars each) left over from winter, too. Austeja, my late season swarm, appeared to have barely squeaked through winter. She had a bar of eggs, but there weren't that many nurse bees. Almost all of her honey was gone, too, so she received two gift bars -- one from Elsa, one from Peach. Even though she got a late start last year, she's had a good laying pattern, and I'm hopeful she'll rebound with a little TLC.
|Austeja -- Pulling sugar out of the combs. |
The light yellowish dots are millet seeds collected from bird feeders.
A few of the colonies had some fallen comb or some slightly cross comb starting to happen, so I did a bit of clean up and got a nice little chunk of comb honey for my efforts.
|Buttercup -- some comb tore off because of bridge comb connecting it to the next bar.|
|Ended up with a nice chunk of comb honey as a result.|
I wish I'd thought to take a Sharpie or pencil out with me so I could've marked some of the bars I might consider moving over to the nucs that I'm going to make up for sale. Next time.
If the weather cooperates, I'd like to take a look at Hippolyte before next week. If external signs are valid indicators, I think I'll find a thriving colony inside her, too.