I took the day off Friday to try and stay ahead of things here in the farm. I mentioned recently, all three of our bee hives made it through this past winter, even though many local bee keepers lost several hives.
You never know.
In my case, I attributed their survival to that extra insulation wrap I had installed. (to mimic the insulation value a bee would find if they were living in the wild in a big hollow tree…ie. R8)
Take all of this with a grain of salt..I am still a “new-bee”
One of my goals this past week was to do what bee keepers call a “walk-away split”. This is where you prevent your bees from swarming (leaving and never coming back) by removing frames of eggs, pollen, honey, and some nurse bees, giving the main colony more room. If you’re successful, you have another colony. Bees instinctively want to split (swarm) as we get into May here in Iowa, so I’m trying to beat the curve.
One of the “issues” I ran into as I went about trying to split the first hive was my vision. I had a cataract procedures in February and tri-focal implants. They are not all they are cracked up to bee. I’m not complaining. (at the moment) I lost close up vision in my right eye completely, and have a massive spiderweb of “floaters” in my left eye. (blurry). That’s a problem,because when you’re looking @ the frames from the hive, you’re especially looking for uncapped eggs or young larva. Give you an idea how small those eggs are, the queen bee is laying up to 1700 eggs a day…
All of those teeny, tiny eggs coming out of one bee.
They are minuscule. (One of my mentors suggested taking a magnifying glass with me next time, which I am going to do).
Here’s what I saw on the 2nd frame I pulled up out of the hive:
(photo by others)
A “marked” queen.
This was the hive I had bought last Spring. Took me a minute to figure out what to do with her. I didn’t want to just sit the frame down and she get lost.
Her hive is bulging at the seams with activity. Very healthy, active mother.
The third hive I checked, I had no intention of splitting. No activity outside of the hive. Last time I peeked in there a couple of weeks ago, there was just a small cluster of bees in the bottom right hand corner.
I figured by now they had all died.
The bees were still there, and I saw capped brood (that is developing new bees).
I also saw this:
Another marked queen! This was the nuc my mentor Jim had bartered with me last summer for some apples.
Felt like Christmas morning in the hive.
Christmas in April.
Life is good. DM