For something that has taken over my life the last 4+ years (and occupied brain space for decades before then), I have never really posted about beekeeping here.
I'm thankful for a sidehustle/hobby that has nothing to do with everyday life. One that allows my brain to fully shut the outside world out and allows me to be fully present in a moment.
What is it about opening a hive that shuts the crazy off? From the liturgy of setting the smoker- each step building for the perfect thick cool smoke, flame, bank, smoke, bank, bellows bellows bellows. To the first crack of the hive body, propolis snapping or bending. Listening carefully, is it the gentle hum of a healthy hive? Or the roar of an unsettled/unbalanced colony? The scents... wax, propolis, honey, the bees themselves. The vibrations, the tiny feet across my fingers and hands. The stilling of bees on a frame, the queen dragging her body, pushing through the crowd of workers. The perfect "wall to wall" laying pattern.
The problem solving. Sorting it as I go.
They are everything.
Inspection notes for this week:
Finally some weather cooperation! I was able to get the last foulbrood treatment onto the hives today, and made a few splits.
I lost half my hives again this winter. Only one starved to death- and I kind of knew going into winter that that particular hive was likely going to have issues. It was FULL of bees in October, and they had eaten most of their stores by then. I'd even fed them supplimentally, and had given them frames of honey in September. Really sad, she was such a pretty queen, no stripes, and so blonde.
Two other hives went queenless probably in November/December, and then 3 hives that I have no explanation for. Those are the frustrating ones.
I had ordered 5 queens for spring splits, but with the pandemic, the queens I ordered didn't come in. They were from Chile and they are a bit of a hot spot in terms of the virus right now. I was given some Californians instead, but they cost an extra $20... $58 per queen!! Crazy money. Just. Ug. Queens from California, I dont know when they shipped, and I didn't stop to feed them before popping them in their new hives.
1) queen right, bottom box brood, empty top box. Check in 1 week
2) Natural split, in original location, give frame of brood next week
3) queen right, could be split next week
4) split with new queen on frame 4 check on 18/19th to see if queen was released/if shes laying.
6) was a queenless hive (but no roar), given 2 frames brood/eggs last week, no emergency cells, no eggs, no brood. Gave it new queen, and 2 more frames of brood. Check on 18/19th
8) queen right, split moved to this location.
9) Kim's hive, queen right, new brood box, undrawn comb.
11) small hive, queen right. Could leave it for 2 weeks.
12) split very strong, new queen, check 18/19th.
Plan? Watch for swarm cells, build a nuc or 2 out of swarm cells. See if I can get local queens early if not.