Monday, June 7, 2010

Bee Log 40: June 7, 2010

This is the year of the queen installation. We bought 5 queens at Beez Neez on Saturday and installed them all. I think the problem is that the weather has been too cold for the queens to get out and mate. It needs to be 70 degrees at least. We have not had many days that warm this spring. In some hives, the bees are even having trouble bringing in enough feed for their young. We have had one swarm in the last month that I know about. I suspect another. We split one hive that had a brood box of 3 deeps and was only producing drones. The swarm that I collected was without a fertile queen. If the new queen developing in hive from which the swarm issued does not get out to mate within a certain time period, the hive will not have eggs or larva.

This is not a good bee year. March was so warm that the bees swarmed. We put supers on our hives in March. April and May have been cold and rainy. With supers on the hives, we have not been able to feed the bees. The bees that we started this year in yards around Seattle are doing well because we have been feeding them.

We are getting concerned that we will not have honey for the market on July 2. This is the date that we are supposed to start selling. We will see. The blackberry flow is just starting in Seattle and that could yield significant honey if the weather cooperates. The black locust trees are blooming now and the lavender is starting to bloom.

I am starting to sound like my farmer grandfather!!! He made a living on 120 rock strewn acres in northeastern Iowa. He raised hogs, corn, soy beans, oats, hay and dairy cattle. There were always worries about the weather, the prices or bacteria counts in the milk. Pay days were few and far between. He couldn't count on pay days even happening.

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