top of page

The bees think it is spring!!!

I confess I have neglected keeping this blog up to date. I checked the hives about two weeks ago, when we had an unusually warm day in late February. I had suspected that the only hive alive is the swarm hive which is pictured above. My suspicion was based on the fact that during cold weather there was evidence of activity on this hive on sunny days, but not on the other two. Then when it got warm, there were bees flying in and out the other two as well as this one. That usually indicates robbing. The other sign of robbing is that the bees are going in any place they can, not just the regular entrance. They also are NOT taking pollen into the hive. And, when I stood back to look at flight paths, I could clearly see them moving to and from the swarm hive.

So, my first observation was to look from the outside of this hive and see if indeed pollen was going into the the hive. It was! That means I have a laying queen. Because this evidence assured me, I chose not to disturb this hive. I could tell all I needed to know for now. Next, I opened the blue long hive, expecting to find a dead hive. What I found was an empty hive except for the robber bees. No dead cluster. I wasn't surprised, but it again reminded me that many times our hives are functionally dead before winter even begins. Usually this is due to either queenlessness late in the season, or even late swarming. It is hard to know which this was, although I did not notice any throwing out of drones in the fall. Next, I removed the insulation from the vertical hive and opened that. I found essentially the same situation as the long blue hive.

So - my conclusions - both the dead/empty hives were late nucs I bought last year. Both struggled all summer, but remained equal in every way in spite of being in different hive configurations. They did make some honey and there is honey left in the hives. I feel like the queens were not great for some reason. BUT, the swarm hive is alive and well. It obviously is locally adapted. I will closely monitor it as spring progresses. I will then make two splits off it to repopulate the other two hives. This should repress its swarming impulse and bring me back up to three hives. Because I have to take two splits off this one hive, I will not be offering splits to anyone else this year.


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page