Wow, it's been almost a year since I last wrote. Life is busy and between the family, running a business, writing a book and of course, tending the bees, there isn't much time for me to keep this blog updated. Anyway, another winter is in the books and it was not a kind one! Sustained cold temps were very hard on the bees (and the people!). We didn't get a ton of snow here in Philly, but it was below freezing for much of the winter and the bees didn't have many chances to come out and relieve themselves. Bottom line for me was that I went into winter with 7 hives and only 3 survived. Not very good odds. One hive disappeared, gone without a trace. The other deceased hives died from a combination of varroa problems, small populations and some nosema.
One of the hives that survived this past winter and looks amazing right now is a swarm that was given to me last May. A beekeeper friend called me one day (thanks Stuart A.) and asked if I wanted to capture a swarm. I said "Of course, I'll be there ASAP." By the time I had mobilized myself, he called back and asked me if I wanted him to bring the bees to me. "Uh, yes please!" He showed up at my door with a box 'o bees. One swarm delivered, no extra charge!
|This hive is now known affectionately known as "WB Mason"|
I moved the bees into my handy dandy Bushkill bee vac setup so that I could easily leave them confined in there for a day or two. This confinement decreases the likelihood that they will swarm again and it also allows the queen to start laying eggs immediately in the empty comb I provided.
|Dumping bees into bee vac box|
|Sealed up and ready for transport|