Great hives from little nucs grow

We have had a few weeks of spring lately, with the air full of pollen and the bees going crazy. Rain and cool weather returned this weekend, so I am not able to work outside. I am instead sitting inside and writing this early spring update. A year will come when I  feel that my springtime work with bees goes well and the hives are buzzing along, so to speak. This is not that year.

Apiary

The expanded apiary on April 14. ©Erik Brown

Continue reading

In and Out of Bee Time

 

I recently finished the book Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive, by Mark Winston, and thought a short summary might be appropriate. We’ve been riding a roller coaster of temperatures lately, with 60 F one day and a chance of snow the next. The weather is trying to settle into a normal spring pattern this week, so hopefully the snow and freezing temperatures have come to an end. Continue reading

The more mites change, the more bees stay the same

In 1519, Spanish forces arrived in Mexico with weapons both seen and unseen. Between 1545 and 1550, up to 80 percent of the native Aztec population is believed to have been wiped out by disease, possibly a deadly form of salmonella.

In 1987, the varroa mite arrived in the United States with weapons both seen and unseen. In the most recent beekeeping season from 2015 to 2016, beekeepers lost an estimated 44 percent of their bees.

Coincidence? Maybe not. Some thoughts on the evolution of honey bees and varroa mites. Continue reading

A clover and one bee

Red Dead-nettle about to bloom in the bee yard. (c) Erik Brown

Red Dead-nettle about to bloom in the bee yard on February 24, 2017.  ©Erik Brown

Spring is in the air, though winter made a visit this week. The plants are gearing up for full bloom, with yellow daffodils and red quince bushes starting the show. The maple trees are in bloom as well, so there is nectar and pollen for the taking if the weather would warm up. I have been updating my bloom date log for 2017, and thought is was worth a quick mention as a new post. Continue reading