Today is the first day since Christmas that it has risen above 40 degrees or so. I was sitting in my chair looking out the living room windows at the brilliant sun shining this beautiful Sunday afternoon wishing I could go and sit with the bees. And then I realized they’d probably be flying for the first time in a long time. I ran out, and sure enough, we have bees!
I didn’t do an inspection (too cold, and it’s Sunday), but here’s a basic report of what I saw just sitting there.
I didn’t see a single bee, so I pulled the entrance reducer. Behind the reducer was a solid wall of bodies with no gaps for bees to get out. I grabbed a small stick and used it to brush aside the bodies, at which point a flood of bees coming pouring out–not defensively. I have this image of these bees being cooped up inside the hive waiting desperately for a chance to go to the bathroom, and finally….
By the time I was done watching, there was enough activity in front of the hive to mistake it for a nice spring day. I’d say close to 40 or 50 bees doing little orientation flights. Awesome!
Deceased. We already knew this of course. I’ve ordered a package of Italians to replace them. I decided both against doing any splits (I want to see what a full production hive looks like since I’ve yet to have a winter survivor that I didn’t split), and I also wanted to branch out from Carnies. I love the Carniolans, but I have noticed that my dad’s Italians seem a touch more gentle, which is one of the keys for a good experience for me.
These were the first bees of 2013 for me. I could see a few fliers from the back window, and these were what prompted the mad rush outside to see more. Not as much activity as Hive 1, but they weren’t trapped either. I couldn’t get the reducer off due to space issues, but I did mange to crack it enough to give them room across the entire face to come out. Tomorrow morning I will pull the entrance reducer when they are all back in their beds. They look great.
See Hive 2 really. That’s about the same report. I will, by the way, pull all the frames from 2 and 4 pretty soon and do a total harvest of everything. I want to start those frames as clean as I can. I may even put some of my new, unused frames in those boxes just to give my new bees a completely new start. Both 2 and 4 were presumed victims of CCD, and I’d like to start as fresh as possible.
No fliers AND no bodies. I pulled the reducer thinking that maybe the entrance was just blocked, but my stick only pulled fifteen or so. Certainly not enough to block the entrance. I decided I would pop the top just to see what they looked like, and the top is broiling with bees. I’m a little worried that honey stores might be a bit low for them, which I will check all three survivors tomorrow. I left plenty of honey on all the hives, but hive 5 seemed a bit light for some reason.
Of course, I immediately called Mackay to tell him the great news and the same for my dad. Sigh… We still have about ten weeks until we can really get going, but man… I’m ready.