Beekeepers in general have lots of different opinions about most subjects. I’m going to propose that most beekeepers would agree that today was ideal for a quick hive check. The weather for a February day was splendid – my car reported 81 ⁰F. Because I was lucky enough to be able to pop over to Clermont and have a look, I thought I’d report my findings to the Clermont group.
As you will recall, the Clermont yard is home to 4 hives. Two from packages and two from swarm capture. I found that three of the four are in perfect condition for February. They all have capped brood, larva and I even saw a few eggs. I only checked the middle super of the hives which are three supers total.
The one that is not perfect appears to be laying more drone than I would expect to see. This, I believe is a sign of queen failure. There was some normal brood but the general pattern is not good. I’m not sure what the results will be because it is February and re-queening is currently not possible. Surprisingly, there were large amounts of pollen and ample food stores. There was also good bee cover in all the hives. Hopefully she and the hive can limp along for a bit longer. Should we add fall queen replacement to the mix?
I’m hearing large hive number losses from many people. I have certainly lost my share. Such is beekeeping. For those of us that yearn for spring there are other signs. The spring peepers are vocal, maple trees are starting to turn red, daffodils are emerging and we beekeepers are checking hives. 2018 will be another great year of beekeeping adventure at Clermont, Nuc production, swarm capture, queen management, and disease control to name a few big ones.
If you have not started to plan for replacing your lost bees now is the perfect time. BONS is finalizing the package order for an April delivery. If you plan to make splits and need to purchase queens – orders are being placed. I’m including swarm capture again in my plans using swarm boxes. If anyone is interested, I have a few never been used, ready to go swarm boxes.
Happy beekeeping to all.