A different year ends

End of year 2020 is fast approaching. It was a challenge to follow my standard beekeeping procedures. Supplies were difficult to get, groups were to be avoided, meeting and conferences were canceled, masks added one more layer to protective equipment. Zoom became the new tool. Internet speeds and availability were points of discussion.  

The bees did not care about any of my issues. They did what honey bees do best with the schedule they follow using the prompts provided by nature.  They swarmed, moved pollen, nectar, and water into the hives. They produced new queens, new bees, comb, drones, propolis and all the other normal bee activities.

With cooler temperatures and shorter days, my beekeeping activity is shifting from the bee yard to planning for next year. I did what I could with mite control, testing to see what levels were there and treating with the appropriate product based on time, temperature, and availability.  

I pushed the hives in late February as I have always done so that I could make April splits. I was not able to purchase queens in mid-April as planned. I would guess the queen producers had trouble getting the labor needed to produce and ship queens. Consequently, the bees swarmed more than normal for my operation. No problem, I just caught what I could and moved swarm cells until there was no more equipment available. Not a bad problem to have!

The original hives produced new queens and settled into transporting the spring nectar flow. Weather was excellent for blooming and the hives produced a solid honey crop. Because I could not buy queens and other supplies my costs were lower. The captured swarms grew and are now headed into the winter.

It was one of my most productive years. So much so that I plan to follow the new progression next spring, letting the bees run the process of queen production and hive management. I’ll just manage mites.