It took long enough but Spring appears to have finally arrived in DC. Yesterday the weather was a perfect 77F and sunny day which the bees loved. I hope Spring has arrived for you too!
These are the views from the Second Story Apiary on the first and second day of Spring? Can you spot the difference between the two photos? If you spotted the beautiful coating of snow in the second photo you would be right! We got over 4 inches of wet snow on the second day of Spring. Happily, the cold doesn't seem to have hurt the blooms or the bees. The bees were happily flying to and from the hive on the third, much warmer, day of Spring.
To tell the story of life inside a hive I brought a frame filled with honey held safely within a windowed display case so visitors could see what honey looks like when it is still in the honey comb. Few people had ever seen a frame full of honey before and asked lots of questions about it. I also brought a nucleus (aka five-frame) hive so that visitors could see what the inside of a hive looks. It was a great opportunity for visitors to not only see but also smell a beehive. Many people remarked that the inside of a hive smells like honey and beeswax!
Even with the best of intentions sometimes you can’t dampen the instincts of bees to swarm so Repasky shares insights on how to manage the swarm when it happens as well as how to deal with the parent colony in its post-swarm state. Rounding out the book is a chapter on techniques for catching swarms illustrated with photos and tales of swarm catching adventures by the author.
Of all the things in this slim volume, my absolute favorite part is Appendix III “Beekeeper Decision Making Chart During Swarm Season.” This flowchart alone is worth the price of the book. I have a laminated photocopy of the flowchart and I make sure to bring it with me on every hive inspection I do from late March to late May.
Do yourself and your bees a favor in the next couple of weeks - get a copy of the book and read it from cover to cover so you can anticipate and manage (or mitigate) the 2018 swarm season for your colony. Long live the queen!