One good thing about this time of year is that I can perform full checks of 18 hives in just a couple of hours! While I’d hate to see so few bees and no honey come June, it sure is nice to be able to knock out half the bee yard before lunch without even breaking a sweat.
My feeling about the blackberry bushes is the reverse. Right now, I’m happy to see all the flowers because they are such a good nectar source and our bees are bringing in lots of lovely nectar and pollen right now. However, as soon as the blackberry bushes stop blooming, I’ll get hubby to hook the cutter up to the tractor and I’ll mow down all the ones that are growing like the weeds they are along our trails. They are quite welcome to keep growing off the trails for now — at least until after I make another batch of blackberry-apple jam.
The bees are doing great and so far there are very few small hive beetles in the new yard. Most of the hives are beetle free, but 3 had wasps starting nests under the lids. Two were yellow jackets and one was a red wasp — I’m not sure which I like least. Well maybe I do — I like the ones that are gone!
The new bees that hubby bought in Jesup are very friendly. Some of the hives are outgrowing their space, while others are just plodding along. The packages he bought all still have their queens and they are laying, but some of the queens he bought separately are nowhere to be found. We’re pretty sure that not being able to install them right away contributed to those losses, but at least the remaining ones are making up for lost time. We tried introducing a NUC with an weak queen from last year to a hive that had become queenless this spring, but that failed. The hive itself is incredibly strong, but no queen — unless she’s out on a mating flight. It seems to me that they would have preferred a weak queen to no queen at all, but bees don’t always make sense.
It’s nice to be back and see the grass seed sprouting along the driveway along with what might be wildflowers from the seed my friend sent for my birthday. I also have spring onions growing and one lonely squash plant. Last week, hubby thought something had been snacking in the temporary vegetable beds, so that plant might not be even there next weekend — or it may be surrounded by other plants. We did get to eat one strawberry each this afternoon and are looking forward to more in years to come.
It still seems a little surreal that I will be here full time soon. For now, we’re bringing one or two boxes of stuff with us each time we drive down. I don’t think either one of us wants to think about packing up the house until we get to the end of the school year, but when the mood strikes I do gather stuff to take to Goodwill. We are both pack-rats, but as we’re downsizing some things just have to go. Maggie, the dog, is just so much happier here so I’m sure she’d pack for us while we’re at work if she knew how.
It’s been a productive and tiring day, but I’ll be going to sleep stress free and with a big smile on my face. Every trip reaffirms that buying this land was the perfect decision for us and our future. Happy spring, everyone — it seems like it might be sticking around this time!