Tuesday, August 16, 2016
It has been an interesting summer. Swarms, honey-bound hives, and lots of bees. Some hives went queenless, apparently, while others have swarmed multiple times most likely. It's hard to be there when they swarm. It did happen about a week ago, when I was out working with my grapes and became aware of a growing hum. I looked up and saw the swarm in the air. I should have stayed and watched to see what they were going to do but instead I hurried back to the barn to grab a nuc, sprinkle some lemongrass oil in and hurry back. No swarm in sight. I looked at the nearby trees, posts, etc., but they were long gone. My swarm trap I had hanging in a nearby tree did not have them either. Could have used a queen in hive #2, but hopefully will have one made soon.
The bees have brought in a lot of honey, but not always in the right places. We were gone quite a lot in June, and the bees really packed the hives full of nectar. I had two hives quite honey-bound, and could find no evidence of queens in either. In fact, I haven't seen a queen all year but I certainly know when they are about. One of the hives eventually started to produce brood and I've put eggs and even some culled swarm cells in the other to hopefully get a queen there.
Hoping for a good fall flow. The prairie ironweed really attracts the honeybees. We have a fair amount of it particularly in the prairie nearest the house. The bees have also been all over our red raspberries, which will continue to produce until freeze. The bees love the cup plants as well, both for the water the leaves hold but also the yellow blooms. Goldenrod is now beginning to bloom and we have quite a lot of that. We did not get buckwheat planted this year which has always been a plant they love. Still, there are nectar sources around. We will have a moderately good honey year but it would be nice to have a great fall flow and have a very good year.