The busy season for the bees has started. And for their beekeepers. Erica tells us what has happened in her bee colonies during April.
In the beginning of April, we put a lot of energy in taking care of the garden to make it all tidied up again. The weather was okay, with only a bit of rain every now and then, and all around us the bees were collecting pollen quite fanatically.
A month has already gone by since the last update and now nature is slowly awaking. It took a while, since it was still quite cold until recently. With a lot of wind from the north and east, the bees hardly brought in any nectar. A beekeepers wisdom is that “with Northern winds, the plants will give no honey”. Luckily there are enough pollen to make up for it!
As part of spring cleaning, I have cleaned the hives. All the parts of the hives were covered in propolis (bee glue, used to seal small gaps). But as it is very useful for the bees, I will have to get used to my hives not being completely clean. I feel a bit disillusioned about that, but luckily the bees don’t mind the not-so-clean hives.
On a particularly nice day in the beginning of April, it was time to check the inside of the hive, to see how the brood nest looked. It was a relief to see that my hives were filled very well. The frames looked amazing! To my great surprise there was already a lot of drone brood. (You can see the big lumps in the picture) There even were some drones walking around already, humming as they went. Oh my, it all goes so fast now! I’m sure they could go swarming in only six weeks.
Being very optimistic, I had put a honey super on the hive with the brood early on. What if the weather would suddenly turn extremely nice? Better to be prepared, in that case. I did leave the super separated from the rest with a newspaper, so that the warmth of the brood would not be lost.
And.. that’s where it went wrong. I had put the honey super on the hive without a queen excluder between it. The newspaper was there, of course, but the bees had soon eaten their way through that. The queen then seized the opportunity to lay some eggs in the honey super… Oops!