It went up to 11°C today. Is it safe to say winter is over yet? I don’t know.

The colony in the above photo was slow to wake up from winter. The foundationless hive that went into winter with a small cluster has been the most active in the past few weeks. That colony may have more Carniolan genes helping its population bounce back early. The slower-to-wake-up colony my have a greater Italian lineage, high on honey production but slow to build up in the spring. But who really knows? Either way, all four colonies seem to be doing well now. They went mad with orientation and cleansing flights today.

It’s been too cold and wet to inspect any of the hives, and I don’t think I’ll have time to do anything with the bees for another two weeks.

Sometime around April 21st, weather permitting, we’ll inspect all four hives and reverse the brood boxes, and maybe put on some feeders. We’ll see.

They’re not bringing in pollen yet (because there is no pollen to bring in), but hopefully it’ll be a different story by this time next week.

7 Responses to “Spring Orientation & Cleansing Flights”

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  1. lynn says:

    are there no pussywillows in bloom yet? don’t they like them

  2. Jeff says:

    No pussy willows yet, give it another couple weeks adn we should see some activity on the pollen front.

  3. Phillip says:

    There’s definitely no pollen coming in. But the bees are doing a great job at cleaning house. The colony I requeened last year shows some hygienic behaviour. I saw more than a few bees pull out dead bees and fly away with them — up and over our house — I assume to dump them far away from the hive. I also saw a few bees do the same with pieces of hard sugar. It’s funny to see a bee wrestle with a big hunk of white sugar, then fly up with it into the sky.

  4. Jeff says:

    I went for a walk no my lunch break, Monday April 9th, 2012 and I saw my first spring flowers, Colts Foot. These are the first flowers the bees begin to collect pollen from. They are the early flowers that look much like dandilions that are close to the ground. Also a very good pollen source along with pussy willows that should flower in the next couple of weeks.

    All we need now is a few warm days to get the bees out collecting fresh pollen.

    Come on spring and summer.

  5. lynn says:

    Colts foot? I think we call them devil’s brush around here. haven’t seen any of those but it can’t be long :)

  6. Phillip says:

    5:30pm and it’s 16.5°C in our backyard, according to our wireless thermometer. It’s been sunny and warm all day. I wasn’t around to see it, but I assume the bees got out and about in a big way today. At this time of year, the bees head back to the hive as soon as they’re in the shade again.

    I wonder how much longer they would have stayed outside if they were in the sunlight most of the day. They don’t have any flowers in bloom to act as an incentive yet.

    I’m beginning to notice more debris near the bottom entrances of some of the hives, including pieces of dried up sugar. The bees are beginning to clean house.

    We’re getting a mixture of snow and rain this weekend. The poor bees won’t know what to think. I don’t expect to do an inspection until April 20th at the earliest. I’m too busy with work until then, but the weather forecast looks like junk anyway.

  7. Jeff says:

    Took a qucik look in 3 colonies today, 2 -2 deep and the 10 frame nuc. All colonies were further behind then I anticpated. The 10 frame nuc has the size of palm of eggs and I spotted the queen activly moving around. It looks like she is in in the laying mode. One colony has a frame with some capped brood and eggs an the third has open brood and eggs. Both of those were about the size of palm of my hand.

    Also there a few bees with what appeared to be pale colored pollen. I didn’t think the colts foot was out in bloom in Clarenville yet. But it was sparce and few in between with this pollen.
    Apart for the middle 3 -4 frames all other frames are pretty much full of honey. No more planned inspections until middle of May now. I may pull the inner cover off to add some pollen suppliment to get the bees jumping.

    Cheers all

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