First Inspection of the Year

     Starting tomorrow, our temps will be above 70 degrees for at least a week.  Incredible.  My plans are to do an inspection of each hive, probably Wednesday.  I'll check for the presence of laying queens in each hive, treat for mites with the mite-away strips from Mann Lake, and generally clean them up, including removal of the styrofoam insulation from winter.  I'll give a summary here later in the week on what I find.
     Our plan is to do splits, providing I have laying queens and sufficient bees.  A friend lost his bees last year and would like to start them again.  Hopefully we can do that.
     A couple weeks ago, I finished our barn quilt and put it in place.  I had hoped to put it above the window on the end of the barn, but there just wasn't enough space.  It still looks fine here.  I chose the colors because they represent the colors of the Iowa Hawkeyes, and the hexagon design to represent the bees.  It's funny, but when a large group of hawkeye fans gathers together, decked out in their black and gold, they're often referred to as "bumble bees".
     Barn quilts have become quite popular in Iowa.  Some counties have posted web sites showing off some of their artwork.  Here are a few examples:
     * http://www.barnquiltsiowa.com/

     * http://www.barnquilts.com/

      * http://www.humboldtcountybarnquilts.com/

     * http://www.grundycountyia.com/Quilt_Website/indexbq.htm

     And, of course, here is ours:

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