Monday, April 28, 2014

Spring Growth and Swarmin' Thoughts

Today I  finally got to do my first hive inspection of the year.  The dandelions are in full bloom, so now is the time for hive reversal if one is into that kinda thing.  My three hives were popping with bees.  Lots of bees.  Too many bees!  The hives were congested already and building comb in spaces between frames to make more room for themselves.  It was not ideal weather (overcast with rain on the way) so I tried not to tarry longer than needed.  The girls were grumpy anyway.  What I did:

1)  Took a look in each and every box on the hives (quickly) and found all full of brood or eggs except the bottom box.  My hives had either 3 or 4 mediums on over winter.  This means all 3 queens are alive and cranking away and one hive is bent on swarming.  I know this because the queen cups I saw had eggs in them.  Wish I had a photo to demonstrate but my hands were full!  I'll try my best to prevent the swarm but they will do what they will do in the end.
2) Took the empty bottom boxes and put them on top of the hives to give them more room to move up (hive reversal).  I may have moved some frames around to open up the brood nest a tad but they just were not having it so I skipped that.
3)  I cleaned off the bottom boards of all the dead bees and sugar brick that had fallen down.
4)  I removed comb if it was built where it would get in the way of future management (between hive bodies or in the space where the sugar brick was) and I removed the spacers and bits of sugar brick.
5) I put everything back together before the rain hit!

I removed this bit of comb that the bees in Hive B had built between frames.   This is drone (male) brood.  The chickens ate these with relish so the drones definitely did not die in vain.  
Drone Brood at "blue eye" or "purple eye" stage
Some more comb that had been built in the space from the spacer I had on for the sugar brick.  
After the hive inspection, I continued to move tomato plants around at work for several hours in the rain.  Then I came home to green bits leafing out everywhere at H & J Gardens (trying out that name for our yard!)  What a delight.  After a bleak winter it makes me so happy to see green and see flowers.


Waiting for their day in the garden: currants, dill, onions.
Fall Gold raspberries leafing out.

Currant flowers.
Gray Dogwood

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