June 26, 2011
One word to explain this year so far, WET. We have 80% of the crop sewed and thats all we can get. We might sew the rest into green feed for the cattle, but somehow I am doubting that. The land is wet and if we keep getting these rains it will be a while till we get back on the land to work it. That said, I have to mention the rest of the crop looks decent. Other than the crop staged so late and all the wet spots, we are expecting half the crop as compared to last year. Another point to mention is the pasture and hay crop looks great. The pastures are well ahead of the cattle.
I have finished my feeding rounds. One gallon with Fumagillin and another gallon to boot. The bloom is sure late this year. Clover is just thinking of blooming and the canola has a ways to go yet. I noticed the raspberries still in full bloom! Most all the hives honey stores had been eaten and the bees took the syrup immediately. My hives are at the point now that they need more space, they are busting at the seams. Starting this Monday I will be adding one box more space and then fully supering the week after.
Once I get back into the hives I will have a better assessment on their strength. Spot checks are showing at least 10% are making previsions to swarm which tells me the hives are progressing better than I expected. I also noticed hives appearing to swarm actually superseding successfully. My hives seem strong and robust and I am confident I have prepared my hives properly for the flow.
I should have adequate swarm control but like all beekeepers can appreciate, the balance between too big and not big enough is difficult to achieve. I am late on my supering round compaired to other years, everything seems to be pushed back 2 weeks. Now that the bloom is near and the bees will be working well into thirds my boxes should fill quickly. Just as long as I have successfully averted swarming.
Time will tell
Posted by Ian Steppler at 09:48 AM | Permalink
June 02, 2011
I got the split done yesterday. I have gone through all my hives and used up all the queens, two to spare. The hives are in good shape, not overly ambitious but ready to go. My mite treatments are working well. As I worked through the yards, I came across two hives that I missed with my Apivar treatment. The smaller (4 frames ) dwindled to nothing and the stronger ( 8 frames ) started to crash with evident DWV. Not good that I missed them, but good to see because it re enforces how well the other colonies have responded to the treatment.
The 350 queens I ordered from OHB are all in. Many of them had to wait in my closet until I had the weather to introduce them. Most of them had at least a 1 weeks wait. I am really happy with their quality so far, only loosing 5 out of that 350 not including the extras while waiting to be introduced. I am starting my acceptance spot checks and so far they are running nearly perfect acceptance. I just started so I will see if that trend continues. One common theme is frames full of eggs and young brood. I like these queens.
Yesterday I had a chance to look at my packages. They are averaging 4-5 frames of brood – solid brood frames! I am going to make an equalization round and double them up. I was considering re queening these hives becasue the package queens from last year are performing poorly this spring. But I might hold off right now becasue of thier performance. I know it will catch up to me next spring, but how can a guy pinch off a queen that is laying 4 solid frames of brood? Perhaps a fall requeening? We will see. I was thinking of sending them straight into the flow as singles but they are alot bigger than I anticipated. I have alot of brood boxes to fill, I dont want to build into supers, and the flow is a ways away yet, so Im going to work them in doubles.
You know, I have been tossing the idea of singles around all winter. But when it comes down to it, during my spring work I really prefer managing doubles. When it comes down to it , everything hinges on what a guy is comfortable with.
Posted by Ian Steppler at 11:55 AM | Permalink