Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Do Beekeepers Stress Out?

-Posted by Isaac

The answer is yes.
The busy season is upon us. Warm days have come and there's a million things to do. I remember my dad always becoming a bit antsy at the beginning of planting season. Even when things are going well, when seed and fertilizer and planters are ready, when machinery holds up, even then, you've still got mother nature to contend with. Rain, mud, wind and late frosts all play havoc with the schedule. A million things to do and a very limited time to do them. There's a lot on the line!

In our case the bees are needing attention. Winter clean up and yard prep, light hives to feed, heavy hives to equalize, apple pollination prep, nucs to make, splits to make, queens to produce, queens to order... and just hope they arrive on time.
It's planting season for bees! The clock is ticking, the girls will be swarming soon.

Swarming soon? Yes! Not all, but most are looking great:

We were able to keep 75% alive this winter. A complete turnaround from last year. 300 or so, looking strong, looking healthy and threatening to swarm in April if I don't get on the ball.

Many are even working on new foundation. Quite impressive considering the cool nights.

All this makes me think I may have been a bit over zealous with the protein. But they were loving it! I couldn't deny my girls... they're spoiled rotten.

 I experimented with the home bees. Which is preferred, artificial pollen or the real thing?

I couldn't see a preference for one or the other. The bees are crazy about both.

And Baby Eden was just fascinated. She's fascinated by all things out-of-doors.

Much protein involves much water. Daily, the girls are bellied up to the puddle in the wheelbarrow.

This week and last, the willows have bloomed. 
I took this shot yesterday, coming home from an out-yard. I love our willows.

And so, now, the protein bucket on the picnic table is simply ignored.
The girls are hauling in the good stuff. The real stuff.


All this protein means the bees are building. We need to accommodate!
Here, Maggie arranges frames for nucs and splits. Basically we're making room for bee growth.

Bee Heaven.
I get a kick out of our home yard. Most of these will soon be in the apples.

Or Bee Hell? Guess it depends on your outlook.

Of course not every minute is filled with bees.
The warm weather means it's time once again for some riding. Four kids, aged one to seven, means we all have our different speeds and wheels.

And some Sunday kite flying goes well with the steady spring breezes.

Finally, we can enjoy the clubhouse and swings.
Mom and Dad get their turn when the two oldest are off to school.

But Bridger still has a couple years before starting his scholarly endeavors. Until then, he'll enjoy the sunny mornings with Mom and work on his zip-lining.

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