I’ve been away from the keyboard for far too long. Well, I haven’t really been away from the keyboard, I’ve just been typing lesson plans instead of blogging. School starts early here in Georgia!
After multiple weekends of focusing on all the regular start-of-school year tasks, I took time with the bees and on the tractor yesterday. The bees are still doing well, despite (or maybe because of) our lack of attention. I did have to add space to a couple of over-achieving hives and the new queen in the castle was running around all fat and happy but not laying any brood. That hive didn’t have many resources, so I moved them over to a NUC, added a frame of brood with bees, and topped them with a mason jar feeder. We’ve never experienced robbing with the mason jars, but the internal frame feeders didn’t work out too well with weak hives last year.
I don’t know if my mental calendar is off because I started teaching a month earlier than usual or if this is just a good year for the bees, but we don’t appear to have much of a dearth this year. The bees are bringing in dark ochre pollen this week and most hives have nectar. Foragers are ignoring the syrup bucket and the trial handfuls of pollen I’ve thrown out. Last week’s pollen was mainly a pale cream color, so there is a variety of natural food out there for them. At least the bees still need us to keep the wild muscadine vines and the brambles away, although they don’t seem to object to have a little cover to hide the entrances to their homes.
We are also having fewer issues with small hive beetles this year. The new location and the landscape fabric under the hives seem to be working out. We also continue to trap wax moths on top of the screen inner covers and I no longer feel squeamish when squishing them! I came the closest I have ever been to squishing a spider yesterday, but chickened out at the last moment! I swear that thing had ambitions to become a tarantula!
I really miss reading the blogs of all the wonderful people I follow, but I think life will get back to normal very soon. The first weeks of a school year are hectic everywhere and changing schools just adds a little more to the mix. I love my new school and the community it’s in. There are only 400 students in the high school and almost 800 people attended the football game Friday night. I met 80 parents on meet-the-teacher night before school started. The school year is off to a good start and coming home to bees and trees is so relaxing!
Life is good on the farm, and I’ll catch up on everyone’s blogs just as soon as I can!