Don’t Tell the Bees It’s Still February

The weather this week is unbelievably mild. I don’t know what to make of the non-winter we’ve had. It’s probably the end of the world, but it sure feels good.

I fed all the hives under my care yesterday, and they were all beautifully active. However, the colonies with the most enthusiasm live in the Foster’s yard. Interestingly, these hives limped along more than others last season…before winter, we beefed them up by combining a number of our weakest hives, and now they’re going gangbusters and hauling in pollen by the bucketful.

Both Simon and I were astounded to see them so active. When I first spotted them, I thought they were gonna swarm right away. Perhaps I should give them more room soon. I’m sure this weather is messing with our usual timing.

(I love the sound of all the leaves crunching. Odd that you never hear that stuff until the video is uploaded and then it’s deafening.)


First Bee Order for 2012—DONE!

Yesterday I placed what is probably the first of my 2012 bee orders. I ordered 20 packages (each package comes with its own queen). For a number of years, I’ve order my bees through Dave Heilman of Ohio Honey Farm, and I’ve had good luck with them…each spring, Dave drives a big truck to Georgia and then, as he drives back to his place in Wooster, Ohio, he drops the packages off to his customers. This first call of the season to Dave always brightens my day. Not only is he a nice guy and we get to talk a little bit about bees, but it’s a sign that winter is blowing out. Things start perking.

So long as the weather holds up, we can expect to receive our bees on Saturday, April 14th.

Which means there’ll be a lot of commotion that day. And the next. I can hardly wait.

Now, some of you know that I’m trying to build a sustainable apiary of local bees and local survivor queens, so eventually I’ll not need to order packages of bees from elsewhere. But it’s slow going. This year I plan to raise local queens. And I’ve ordered a few queens with good reputations (from Zia Queen Bees in New Mexico and from Russell Apiaries in Mississippi) from which I hope to eventually raise more queens. We’ll see how it goes.

(As I type this, I hear a mouse eating something in my cabinet. It sounds as if an entire family of mice is eating through the entire cabinet and all its contents. And the cat curled up here is useless.)

Deb’s uncle Doyle wants me to supply him right this minute with queens from my apiary. I asked him to try holding his horses until June.

Below is a picture of my very first package of bees: