And as usual the silver lining is that I have lots of honey, pollen and drawn comb from my 4 dead-outs. After cleaning out the hives of bees I piled the equipment in my backyard - must have at least 80 pounds of honey sitting back there. Most, if not all, of that honey will go towards feeding my new colonies this spring (I'll get to that in a minute). My remaining living hive looks really strong and they should hopefully pull through the rest of this cold spring with no problem. If this hive is strong and the weather warms up a bit, I will split it into two hives in a few weeks.
Contrary to my beekeeping, this has been an awesome winter for me and the Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild. In January I was elected President of the Guild. Then in February we had a hugely successful event when Ross Conrad came to speak to us. We had over 100 attendees come to Penn Charter School to see Ross and everyone was extremely happy with how the day went. After Ross gave his two talks, we had a showing of a documentary called Vanishing of the Bees. It was a great event which we hope to replicate in some form next winter.
In March the Guild held its first Beginner Beekeepers Course. Four of the Guild officers, myself included, planned and taught the course. We had 20 "students" and this day also went really well. For me it felt great to be teaching again, something I haven't done for quite a few years. We plan to offer more and longer courses in the future.
OK, back to the bees. To make up for my losses this winter I ordered 4 small cell packages from the Seaborns at Wolf Creek Apiaries. I have already installed two of the packages at one of my new apiary locations. Woodford Mansion is located in East Fairmount Park and was built in 1756. I want to say a quick thank you to Bruce Schimmel and Martha Moffat for helping this apiary location happen (Martha also took some of the pictures of me below). Here is the front of the house...
This site should be a great home for the bees - in addition to tons of nearby red maple trees (an important source of early spring pollen), there is a new orchard that was recently planted around the grounds of the house. And the bees will have the run of the entire East Park, they should find plenty of food. Here are some more pics...
|A new home|
|Two packages in trunk of my car|
|Beautiful frame of pollen from one of my other hives|
|Queen cage with attendant bees|
|Queen cage slipped under front door and into hive|
|Workers dumped on top of queen cage|
|Frames are in, dumping the stragglers into the hive|