Monday, 10 April 2017

April Buzz

Each Spring, beekeepers in this cold part of the world nervously assess their colony winter survival rates. My reveal was hardly a surprise since I'd been keeping a close eye (well, ear) on them all along. My honey bee hives are located only a few steps from my house.

Last year I had two colonies. One fell silent before winter even began, while it's neighbour buzzed and hummed happily within it's dwelling throughout the frigid months. Both hives had large populations and low mite counts. Both hives were heavy with honey stores. Yesterday's autopsy on the failed hive provided no clue. I could see no sign of disease or robbing. I saw no evidence of mold or excess moisture but simply large clusters of dead bees inside and a pile of dead bees on the ground in front. Were they poisoned? Did something happen to their queen? I may never know.

Meanwhile, I'm very glad to see that it's sister hive is flourishing. Busy little workers are already hauling in water and light yellow pollen and perhaps sap from broken tree branches. From this robust hive I plan to make at least two additional colonies next month


Worker honey bees begin an early morning foray.

As the morning advances, a traffic jam forms at the entrance.

After I widened the entrance, traffic flowed much better.

The girls really hustled and bustled on this warm April day.

Oh little lady, where did you find that butter coloured pollen?

9 comments:

  1. What a load of pollen, Have you ever estimated how much they carry in relation to their own weight? Pity about the other hive, but I hope the survivors carry on heaps of good work all season.

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    1. Worker honey bees can fly with almost half their own body weight of pollen clumped onto their leg baskets. They are clearly challenged to steady themselves before landing at their hive entrance. Add to that a brisk April wind and you are looking at little super girls. I think the yellow pollen might be from a willow catkin of some kind.

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  2. What a wonderful post. I find bees so interesting. I was taking photos of crocuses yesterday and noticed a couple bees around with full pollen sacs(?). Lovely to see.
    Sorry about your hive.
    Robin

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    1. From reading your posts, Robin, I can see that you are at least a gardening zone warmer than here. It's a bit like watching a preview of what my plants will look like next week. Yes, I've become quite attached to the bees and love to see and hear them buzzing about their grocery gathering flights. Summer just wouldn't be the same without them.

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  3. Neat. Never known a bee keeper before. Not sure I could handle that job. Sorry you lost a hive but maybe the one left will do an amazing job for you.

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    1. Thanks for the 'shout out', Pam. Just enjoyed a visit to your blog. I've never been to Tennessee but I do love the Tennessee Waltz which I've now mastered on my piano. I'll be certainly checking on your adventures again.

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  4. Hi Florence, sorry at the loss of a bee hive. And how frustrating it is to not know why. I have not seen a bee around here yet but did see little swarms of flies so I know things are coming alive. Good luck now with your very healthy little bees.

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  5. It's so hard getting through winter. Enjoy your girls!!!

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  6. These are amazing photos! Quite interesting!

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Thanks so much for stopping by. I'm always glad to hear from you and appreciate the time you take to comment.