What a difference a day makes. Or a few days….. We checked half of our hives one weekend and there was so little nectar that I started open feeding again. Then it rained. Then the weather turned warm. And all of a sudden, our hives are nectar bound and bees are off looking for new homes. We knew it was almost time to add honey supers, so we staged boxes under the lean-to, and the next day, a swarm moved in. We relocated them this past weekend – four boxes of bees and about 20 pounds of nectar. They accumulated that in four days. We have since captured another 8 frames of returning foragers. We gave them a frame of open brood to work with and we’ll see if they are making a queen for themselves tomorrow.
I was at home yesterday waiting for delivery of a new washing machine, stepped out onto the front porch, and saw another swarm staging on the front of a hive we just checked on Sunday. Again, they went from having plenty of free space to being nectar bound seemingly overnight. I pulled frames of brood out of the hive, put them in a 10-frame and hurriedly swept bees from the front and sides of the hive into it. I put them on the neighboring hive stand, turned in the opposite direction, where they appear to be quite content. I checker-boarded drawn comb and brand new foundation into the existing hive, and added another brood box just in case. The bees that were still outside marched back in and started rearranging the furniture. I went back to our house and continued rearranging my furniture so the delivery guys had a clear path to the laundry room. By the end of the day, all of us were happy!
Even though we went through all of our hives last weekend, we are going back through them tomorrow. This nectar flow is wonderfully heavy. Hubby has caught 3 swarms this week in addition to the two already mentioned. We have at least one hive that swarmed without us knowing it since Sunday. As always, it’s a balancing act between giving the bees enough space while making sure they don’t have too much empty space to defend from predators.
Life is good, as always, on the farm, albeit a little busy right now!