Monday, February 20, 2017

February 20 -- Is It Really Winter?

The bees don't think so.

It's over 70 degrees and we went out to check our three hives. Everybody is busy and plenty of pollen is coming in. We planned to put in some sugar cakes, but the top boxes on all three hives were still so heavy with honey we decided to leave them alone. They obviously have stores enough for now. And since the weather is expected to be in the upper 50s to 70s during the day for the next two weeks all is looking good. The strongest hive (Madeleine) has the newest queen from last Summer. The second strongest is Bianca with a queen from 2015.

If things continue we will be going into the spring with three strong hives, a first since we began beekeeping four years ago in May 2013. We expect to divide all three hives sometime in late March or April.

I've also been reading about a new varroa mite contraption called a bee gym that allows the bees to scratch off the mites. So far we haven't used any chemicals in our hives and prefer not to if we can avoid it. So as soon as Dadant starts handling the bee gyms which come from the UK I plan to buy a couple and see how they work.

We're still enjoying our honey from last season. There's nothing more enjoyable than a cup of tea with a big scoopful of golden honey for sweetener.

Age of queens:

Madeleine August 2016
Bianca: Spring 2015
Rachel: May 2016

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