Saturday, June 9, 2012

June and things are growing

I decided to take a peek at the new hive we're trying to get started.  I put a frame with eggs and larva in on  May 23rd, so I thought a queen might have emerged.  Last time I checked, last Monday, I thought I found a queen cell though the bees continued to cover it so much I couldn't really be sure.  Today there was clearly a queen cell at the top of frame #3.
It has been 17 days, so I'd think she would be coming out very soon.  I'll check back mid-week next week.
The clover is slowly getting past its prime.  There has been a lot of it and the bees have definitely been working it.  I also found some bees on our blossoming cilantro, but more often the little dark bee in the photo below.
Not the best photo, for sure.  Probably a type of mason bee?
The bees are doing well, but other things are looking good here in Iowa in June.  It's been quite dry, but we're heading into a great berry season nonetheless.  The black raspberries should be plentiful, though we're still learning how to trim them properly to get larger, juicier berries.  We'll continue to get a bigger harvest from our wild ones along the edge of the woods.

The reds are also loaded, but we'll have to contend with the Japanese beetles, just emerging (shown here on the underside of a leaf).  They will not only eat the foliage but will also go after the fruit, in huge numbers.  They're really a problem.
Blueberries and grapes are also looking good.  Grapes initially were affected by a late frost but are now looking good.  Blueberries were not affected.

 Kathy's garden is also in good early season shape.  We've already had a lot of lettuce and cabbage.   Here are her tomatoes.
So, that's a little tour of some of what's growing here.  We'll be busy picking quite a few berries in the next several weeks.  Mmmmmmmm, black raspberry pie!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Early June Inspection

I first checked the nuc today to see if there was any sign yet of a queen cell from the frames I put in on May 23rd.  There clearly seems to be at least one queen cell, which would be approximately two weeks old.  It is in the photo below, but a little group of nurse bees kept covering it, lending credence to the likelihood that it contains a queen.

I contemplated adding another frame from one of the other hives, but I think I'll do a wait-and-see here.

I checked hive #2, the stronger of the other hives, to see how they had progressed during our week away to northern Minnesota.  I had anticipated possibly needing to add a second super.  The bees have been building comb and adding some nectar but no frames full of honey yet.  I looked deeper into the hive and found the top hive body (of 3) is almost totally full of honey, most capped.  It's quite heavy.  I began to be worried that the hive was getting honeybound, so looked deeper.  The middle box has a lot of ugly frames, and I need to do some work in there sometime after the honey flow, but I did find a couple frames filled with capped worker cells, so I'm not as concerned about that.  I think they have just been filling up the top hive body and hopefully next will move on up and work hard on the honey super.  Clover is still going very strong, and we have a lot of it on our 3 acres plus the large horse pasture behind us.

Hive #1 also has done little on the super, but the number of bees there has really increased.  I didn't bother them a lot.

Hive #2  A lot of bees, hasn't swarmed to my knowledge.

While in N. Minnesota, Hackensack to be specific, we stopped in at Mann Lake.  I bought two hive bodies and 20 frames.  I just felt I needed to have a little extra on hand in case we needed to do a split or something.  Always enjoy stopping there.