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

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Every hive has its own law

W170226-marsell, it’s official, or at least I am official. After an inspection this past week, I am legally permitted to sell bees in the state of Virginia. I have the stickers to prove it.

In our weather, we had three days over 70 F (21 C) this past week, and the hives are starting to raise brood in earnest to prepare for springtime.

The photo here shows Mars reduced to one medium with some extra stores on top, with Ganymede (the Lang) and Venus (the top bar) in the back. Continue reading

As the Hive Turns

Last month I realized my hive Saturn was facing a bit northerly. Our winter winds can be rather blustery, and I was worried about the cold blowing into the front of the hive. I wasn’t quite sure what to do about it, until someone suggested on beesource.com that I turn the hive around. So I did.

161029-saturn-nw

My hive Saturn on October 29, facing mainly northwest. Our winter winds would blow right into the entrance. © Erik Brown

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Drops of Jupiter in her hive

Jupiter has had an eventful season; our hive, not the planet. I did a rushed split on April 11 to create the hive now called Ganymede. When Jupiter swarmed anyways on April 25, I caught the swarm to create what has become our new top bar hive Saturn. Ganymede did so well I split her again to share a nuc with a friend. After all this, I was worried that Jupiter might not have a queen, only to find larva and brood about four weeks later (meaning a queen was present).

So it seems a report on the progress of Jupiter and her satellites, so to speak, is in order.

160617 Apiary

The hives before inspection on June 17. The smoker is lit and ready to go.

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Drones are from Mars, Queen is for Venus

Venus and and the other hives on June 5 amongst the weeds in the bee yard.

Venus and and the other hives on June 5 amongst the bee-friendly weeds in the bee yard.

I have been away from this blog and out of the hives for a couple weeks. A little too much travel and jet lag and other distractions. Trying to catch up this weekend, starting with the status of the new queen for Venus. My prior post on Venus described how Venus appeared to be without a queen, and how a new Russian queen from nearby breeder Chris Hewitt was caged and ready to be released in the hive. Continue reading