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And So It Begins!

The first nectar of the year!

The first nectar of the year!

At the recent East Richmond Beekeeping meeting (held on Feb 12), one of my friends who hosts a few of my hives mentioned that the bees were on her First Breath of Spring shrub. I remember her mentioning this last year, in February I believe, and asked her to snap a picture. They arrived today! It’s great to see the little gals starting to bring in resources instead of being a total consumer, as they do most of the Winter. It’s certainly not enough to sustain the hives, but I’m certain it is getting them amped up a bit! I have already begun looking for this plant (it is also known as Winter Honeysuckle). I will probably plant 10 of them over the next few years, if I can find the space!

Although this is exciting news, we still have another few weeks of risk. I do not see much in the way of really bad weather, but you can’t rely on anything outside of 12 hours from now when it comes to the Richmond weather folks. Regardless, this was a great sign.

So, I really wanted to get out and look at a hive or two. My first obstacle was the daggone Gallbladder. That thing went south on me last week and the surgeons had to cut it out. I guess I have never had surgery like that before, but it sure is taking FOREVER to fully heal. I can walk around, but get tired really easily and can’t lift anything above 20 pounds (is there anything bee-related that weighs LESS than 20 lbs!?!) I decided to crack the only two ‘full’ hives that I have in the backyard. Both are really late Nucs (started in June) that I was only able to get a Medium super on in September. So, both remained in my backyard, which is not usual (I have a lot (well, 9 that are still alive) of Overwintered Nucs back there and like to keep full hives elsewhere!) My goal was to take off the inner cover and simply go through the Medium super, only lifting 1 frame at a time (I wish my frames had 20 lbs of honey in them, but they definitely do not.)

Walking Drones

Late Winter Drones

The first hive gave me a good show – walking drones, capped drone brood and eggs in drone cells! Walking drones is a huge find. I still have one of the February Nuc’s that I created last year and believe it is doing great, but I’m not going to do that again until I can see how long the queen in that hive really lives a productive life. But, this all but guarantees Nuc’s getting created in early March, weather permitting. It should be pointed out that the second hive had no Drones in the upper Medium and no evidence of drone brood or eggs up there. Both hives were equally strong, but one was already kicking into 3rd gear.

I am encouraged by what I found today. We’ll see what the next few weeks hold.

4 comments to And So It Begins!

  • Sorry to hear about the surgery and I hope you heal more quickly than you expect. Take it easy. Writing is easy work. Write more while you are recovering. I enjoy your posts and your Newsletter was quite the handy thing! Good job. I am looking forward to the next issue.

    No drones walking yet out here near Farmville, but my hives are building up quickly.

  • I am getting back into beekeeping and was given all the equipment of a neighbor, Martee Johnson, who got nucs from you last year. I am joining the RBA and hope you might have two nucs or tell me where I might get them. I have used Dadant in the past. Thanks. Marshall Orr (804)282-1803

  • Hello Marshall,

    My list is pretty full, but I may still be able to provide you with Nucs. I will not know until April or early May. On this site, click All About Nucs up top and then click ‘Reserve a Nuc for 2013’. That will get you on the waiting list.

    Take care,

  • Regarding walking drones, all I can say is “ACK!!” I need to get into my hives pronto! I was planning on today but it was SO windy. Hopefully I get a chance in the next few days… Thanks for posting this.

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