…summertime….and the livin’ is easy….
We have gone straight from a cold, wet, endless spring into high summer. Thank goodness! And our major honey flow is, eek!, nearly upon us.
Crazy-making! One day we were feeding, desperate to keep the colony alive and brooding up, next we are pulling feeders and sorting the bees for honey production. New beekeepers are learning that artful leap from pushing new packages to grow big enough to make some honey to preventing them from swarming just as the blackberry blooms.
It isn’t easy.
Worse, new beekeepers (who have never observed the arc of colony development) with colonies that are failing to expand as they should suddenly realize that something is terribly wrong.
Here is what your colony should look like in June in the Pacific Northwest:
Lots of bees. Busy and bringing in pollen and nectar.
Bees jostling to get in and out of the front door whenever there is sunshine.
Bees streaming into the hive delivering their forage loads (this is a shot of the slatted rack, which sits under the bottom box and over the bottom board, functioning as a kind of vestibule to the hive.
Stack is getting taller…Tim was short on 10 frame equipment so gave this booming hive (filling two deeps in spite of being split out as a nuc earlier in spring) a honey super to ensure they did not choke the broodnest and begin swarm prep. But…we found a sudden flush of queen cups…so TempQueen was placed in the hive to dull the swarm impulse.
Feeder was removed after this inspection, and two empty honey supers will go on this weekend in anticipation of the honey flow. By the time the blackberry bloom is over, this hive should be split or given a third deep.
I will leave you with a little look at the snackbar! This is the last pollen sub necessary until our late summer dearth sets in.