Spring break is finally here, and we are spending it with the bees and the trees! The blackberries are starting to bloom and we see pollen coming into the hives, so the pace should be picking up in the apiary very soon. Hubby drove down last weekend to check our walkaway splits from the prior week while I stayed home and rested my foot. Yep, his back is getting better and my foot got worse, but we now both feeling better daily.
While hubby was here, he saw a post on LetGo about an apiary that was being liquidated because the apiarist had sadly passed away. It seemed worth checking out, and it was; hubby made the 200 mile trip to Jesup, GA and returned with 10 packages of bees and 10 mated queens. He installed the packages and two queens before returning to SC on Sunday and the remaining queens took a road trip! We were able to get them all through the week in the city and back to the farm without any losses.
So, of course yesterday afternoon was all about making sure queens were out of their cages and finding homes for the other queens. We had a couple of walkaway splits that had not produced a queen cell, so we added queens to those. We decided to break up our evil hive into nucs with new queens and found that they did not currently have a queen, so our timing was perfect on that one. They did have a recently opened queen cell, so we tore the hive down completely and moved the nucs to another part of the apiary, just in case there was a queen out on a mating flight. That hive has remained aggressive through multiple requeenings, so we really don’t want their genetics to be perpetuated.
Last week and yesterday afternoon were a whirlwind of action, so today will be about cleaning up the bee yard and figuring out how many hives we actually have now! We’ll then start on complete inspections of established hives, including mite counts, and then get all of the new hives inspected over the next few days. We have to pace ourselves so that our creaky old bones don’t pitch a fit again but balance that with figuring out where we stand. My brain does not like not knowing our numbers or inspection status any more than my ankle likes being twisted!
We remain hopeful that this will be our last spring of long-distance bee keeping. I have some interviews lined up over spring break and my current school knows that I hope to move to Georgia. Big changes like this make me nervous, but being here in the woods relieves all that stress and some…..