I forgot to write the date down, but sometime around July 12, I noticed that Buttercup had gone queenless. Probably her queen got lost on a mating flight, so I donated some eggs/young brood from Elsa. Last week (July 20), she had queen cells, including a couple of capped ones. Hopefully, I'll see eggs around Aug 5.
Checked Celestia last Friday, and she has eggs so I can breathe a sigh of relief on that front.
Austeja, Hippolyte, Persephone, Peach
Haven't checked these since the 12th, but they were all fine then. Since the dearth is on us & I'd like to avoid setting off an attack of robbing, I won't open the hives much until the fall flow begins. Maybe to take some honey...
This is Elsa's second year, and she hasn't swarmed yet, so I split her on July 20. I couldn't find her queen, so I just moved some eggs and brood over to my empty Bubblegum nuc. 3 days later, the nuc had eggs, and Elsa had queen cells. Well, I guess I know where she is now. Fingers crossed, I'll have a laying queen by August 14 -- or maybe I should just buy a queen.
I also took a couple of bars of honey that were about 75% capped out of Elsa. I was concerned that they might be a little too wet still, but my refractometer showed a water content of 16%. So whether the bars are all capped or not, it looks like they are harvestable.
(Actually, there was at least another jar,
but used a lot of honey making lemonade and popsicles)
Weather-wise, this has been a miserable spring & summer. According to the US Drought Monitor, we are in a severe drought and have been for some time. Daytime temps have been consistently in the mid- to upper-90's F since about May or June. Our normal average high for July is 85 F -- so we're 10 degrees above average. Hearing lots of reports of wells running dry in my town.
|I'm in Southern New England. You can see how dry that area is.|
Additionally, everyone's lawn has died (except the weeds -- my clover and weeds look super green!) Personally, I have no use for grass, but I am mourning the toll on my garden. My DH's tomatoes are not setting as much fruit as they usually do. Hot spells (days consistently about 90ºF and nights consistently above 75ºF) cause tomatoes to focus on survival instead of reproduction. My cantaloupes, too, are producing male flowers only. Even my pumpkin & winter squash don't want to make fruit. Heat also fries the pollen -- not just tomato pollen, but pollen for lots of other plants as well. Flowering plants don't make as much nectar either without water.
The weather forecast shows a 50% chance of a couple rainy days this weekend, but I'm not feeling optimistic. Most of our rain predictions so far this year have either not panned out or we've gotten a quarter inch at most. Not nearly enough.
In the 16 years we've been married, my DH and I have moved 4 times -- each time further north and to somewhere with a higher cost of living. We have this joke that the next two moves will be to Canada and then the Arctic Circle. As this heat keeps up, Montreal is sounding pretty good to me!
In addition to the heat and lack of rain, garden pests have been the bane of my existence these past couple of months. My guess is that the unusually warm winter we had last year failed to kill them. Tomorrow, I'm planning to put down some milky spore and beneficial nematodes. Fingers crossed for some rain to help soak that stuff in. Anyone know a good rain dance?