Hive Observations – May 6, 2022

This is Greg Heller, recently elected vice president of the association. One of my goals this year is to rework our website, and to include more useful information on it. As part of that, you will be seeing more blog posts, both from me, and hopefully also from other beekeepers.

Blue Eyed MaryI would like to share a little about my beekeeping day. Today I inspected 7 of my 11 hives. There were a few things I (re)learned, so I thought I would take a minute to share with you here.

It looks like the nectar flow has started, at least at my location. This was evidenced by new white wax, and nectar in the cells. I have not been feeding, so it is clearly nectar, not syrup.

I am not sure what they are getting the nectar from, but there are many dandelions, oregon grapes, maples, baby’s breath, and blue-eyed marys (see photo) blooming on my property. The nectar may be coming from them, or somewhere else altogether. Whereas these are all strong overwintered colonies with good populations, I added a honey super to each hive.

At a recent association meeting, I suggested that I look for the nectar flow when the apples blossom. I guess I will need to revise that rule of thumb, as I see no apple blossoms. The flow looks to have aligned more with the maples this year.

The bees continue to bring in a lot of pollen, most of which looks bright orange, like dandelion pollen. I suspect they are also bringing is some maple and willow pollen, though that is tapering off. They are mostly ignoring the protein patties and dry pollen substitute that I have provided for them. Two weeks ago they were all over it, today they prefer the good stuff. Good bees!

One lesson I (re)learned is that it is a dumb idea to open hives on rainy days. I thought I had a good enough break in the rain to do the work, but ended up drenched when I quit. The first 5 hives went pretty well, but I should have quit on the 6th, and opening the 7th was stupid! I think the bees will recover from my error OK this time. I am hoping to try again on the remainder of the hives on Sunday afternoon.

All of my surviving colonies are looking good, despite my efforts. Two of them are very strong, so I was very intentional in looking for queen cells in them, but found none. One of them is usually very testy, and did not disappoint today in that regard. I did not have my veil zipped up as tight as I should have, and one bee nailed me on the chin. I guess it was her way of telling me that I should not have been there today.

A disappointing finding today was that a significant portion of my stored honey frames were damaged by wax moths. I have not had much problem with them in the past, so that was disappointing. I have a bit of cleaning to do to get them ready for the bees, but fortunately there were enough clean frames to use for now. It is always helpful to have extra equipment on hand.

I hope your bees are doing well. Feel free to reach out to me for any help, I promise to at least try to be of assistance.

Until next time,