Friday, March 20, 2009

Teeming with bees, strawberry flowers

I opened both Loretta's hive and Dolly's hive late yesterday afternoon.  As expected, Dolly's was light, with the bottom box completely empty, and only half of the top box with bees and brood and a little honey.  Having to move fast, I just reversed the boxes for now, putting the empty on top.  Loretta was another story all together.  The hive was teeming with bees, and the top (3rd box) of the brood chamber was chock full of last year's honey!  The didn't even need it this winter.  (I need to rethink the three box strategy.)  The bottom and middle brood boxes were teeming with bees and brood, much of it mature and capped.  I could do nothing there for now, so put a queen excluder on top, added a honey super, and closed them up.  

Based on my findings, my plan for next weekend is to try and remove two frames of capped brood and bees from Loretta and give them to Dolly. At the same time, I will remove 3 frames of honey from Loretta, and give them to Dolly. This will  help strengthen Dolly's hive, while opening up Loretta's a bit to maybe help prevent a swarm, and giving an open path through the old honey to the new honey supers.  (I will put drawn comb into the empty spots left in Loretta's hive.)  It was great to finally at least get into the hives and see the bees.  Despite how late in the day it was, they were very calm, and paid pretty much no attention to me as I worked.  I could not get any bee photos, as I was alone and could not both work the bees and a camera.

A quick note about the vegetable gardens:  The new strawberry plants have a few flowers already!  I know I should pinch them off so more energy can go to the new plants right now, but I don't think I can.  Maybe next week.  I also wanted to share the fiddleheads of my holly fern, and the wonderful veins of this purple and green pak choy.