Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Bees Are Booming!

Although we made it through  a fairly mild winter with all 3 hives, we did lose one to a cold week in early April.  I  could have prevented this by putting liquid feed on top of the hive.  The patties just did not provide the kind of nutrition they needed since they were building brood quickly.  I will try not to make  this mistake again.  The other  two hives, though, seemingly just as strong, made it  through just fine.
Two weeks ago I did a split from each of the two strong hives.  Both splits seem to be doing well and when I inspected yesterday, one has a young queen.   I don't know if she has mated or not.   Her abdomen is still fairly small.  I have a queen cell  in the other split so  hopefully a queen will develop there  as well.
I moved the swarm trap I made last year from a neaby pine tree, which has died over the winter.  I placed it on the fence behind the  row of hives.  I placed a cotton swab with a good dose of lemongrass oil on it.  When I went to inspect hives yesterday I was excited to see bees busily flying in and out of the small opening of the trap, which vertically holds 4 frames.  Pretty cool!

I will let this stay in place for  a week or more, just in case there is a virgin queen who will  need to know where to return from her mating flights.  Then this will go into a nuc to use to raise brood or serve as an emergency queen.
Today I picked up a 3 lb. package of bees that I won in a drawing in our December meeting of the  East Central Iowa Beekeepers Association.  Compliments of Paul  Gardner of Precious Bee Farm out of Homestead, Iowa, this colony puts me at 5 hives plus the swarm.  It should be an  interesting season!

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