Friday, May 10, 2013

Geared Up and Going Strong

My 15 hives survived the winter.  Thank God.

We're really blessed to have a good spot in an old abandoned orchard.  It's far enough away from corn planting that I did not have any problems last year with wind blown corn pesticides.

There are soya beans planted not too far away--the same pesticide is used on them--but so far we haven't had a problem.

Many beekeepers in Ontario are reporting heavy losses this spring and are looking to acquire more bees to increase their stocks.

It's corn planting season right now and most beekeepers are feeling nervous.  Already some reports of poisoning have come in.  Will it be as bad as last year?  Everyone waits to see with baited breath.

About three weeks ago I was at the yard when the wraps were still on the hives.  The bees were flying like crazy on a few sunny days we had between rain showers.

And they were finding tons of bright yellow pollen.  Traffic at the hive was so busy I had to open up the entrances a bit more just so they could come and go.

I observed them as they circled like planes at an airport, waiting for space and a chance to land so they could deliver their goods.

After a couple weeks of watching a lot of pollen coming in I noticed the bee activity was just as strong but I didn't see pollen on the bees' legs.  I figured this meant they were bringing in nectar.

I believe for the first season I balanced it right to take enough honey in the harvest last fall that they had enough to keep them through the winter but not too much.  The year before I'd left way too much.  Third time is a charm, so they say.

Every year I learn more.  Mistakes are hard to deal with but they really are good teachers.

I have lots to report but have had some camera problems which have held me up... that and the new job (same company but new position).  I'm getting tons of training in the new position and am coming home tired.  But with bees you've got to keep going :)

With the job change I've realized that I really can't afford time and energy-wise to increase hives.  My plan is to do splits once my hives have grown and are developing queen cells.

Then I'll sell my splits.

I'll also do my best to manage my swarm collecting addiction and learn to say "No" when I get swarm calls.

I'm sure there will be plenty of beekeepers out there that would love to collect some bees.

If you are a beekeeper in Ontario, I can add you to my swarm collection list.  It's on my bee-magic.com website.

Beekeepers have reported they are getting lots of calls.  When people see swarms they're quick to check the internet to find out who to contact.

I sincerely hope your bees have survived the winter too and that this spring and summer will be a successful one.

I'm really hoping we don't get a sudden change in weather this year to ruin our fruit crops.
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