The north wind doth blow
And we shall have snow,
And what will poor robin do then?
She’ll sit in the barn,
And keep herself warm,
And hide her head under her wing.
When my friend and I went for our morning walk Tuesday, I took photos. The flowering trees were just coming into full bloom, and I wanted to document their loveliness because I knew what was coming.
Wednesday, I woke up to this.
That night, it got down into the lower 30s or upper 20s. By then, I didn’t want to know the details.
On Tuesday, it’s supposed to hit 83 F.
My point is it’s been a week of extremes. Coming immediately after we learned our new hive, GeeBees, had no queen, this is not the best scenario.
If you recall, we put in jars of sugar water with Honey B Healthy Amino-B Booster to encourage them to make a new queen from the frame of eggs we’d stolen from OH Girls.
Unfortunately, it didn’t occur to me that sugar patties might have served them better since bees don’t usually like to drink sugar water during cold weather.
Today we had a quick look at the levels of the jars of food and discovered they had consumed very little, if any. We’ve always read/heard it’s best to leave hives alone when they are (hopefully) in the delicate business of making a queen, so we didn’t look any further, just gave them fresh jars and closed the hive.
Once again, we are left sitting on our hands (with fingers crossed) and waiting.
The good news is their workers are foraging and bringing in pollen. They have fewer bees, so it’s not surprising they have fewer foragers than OH Girls, but at least they’re doing what bees are meant to do in the spring.
OH Girls, on the other hand, are thriving to the extent that we expect to have to split the hive soon. We saw Her Royal Blueness, and she’s clearly keeping busy because there were many frames of capped brood and larvae. It was cloudy, making it difficult to tell if there were eggs, but there was one frame with tiny larvae — not much past the egg stage.
So far, they’ve only made a few queen cups and not queen cells. With so much brood however, we expect to see those peanut-shaped cells when we do our next check, especially because schedule conflicts will push it back to a few weeks from now, rather than the usual seven to ten days.
One advantage to the delay is we’ll also be able to have a more complete check of GeeBees to see if they have requeened. If not, we will move a few queen cells from OH Girls (if they’ve made any).
We’ll probably still have to do a split because moving a frame with queen cells won’t do anything about the bees feeling crowded.
If OH Girls haven’t made queen cells, and GeeBees haven’t made a queen, we’ll have to buy one and go through the whole introduction thing again.
OH Girls have begun to load frames in the classic football or rainbow shape, with brood in the middle, surrounded by pollen, nectar, and honey, which is something we like to see.
Why do we like to see this? Probably because we’ve heard they should do it. Plus, it demonstrates a certain kind of logic — putting food for the brood near the cells where it will be needed.
This article on checking a hive has a good photo at the bottom that demonstrates what I mean.
I took just one picture — this little worker with her small load of pollen. I tried to get one of her sisters, who was loaded with bright orange pollen. Too bad she was not in the mood for the paparazzi and flew away. 🙂
In other news, I got my first vaccine yesterday at a drive-up location. I was worried because having had COVID makes you more likely to have side effects, and one of my co-workers who had the illness last spring(!) was laid up for days.
Imagine then, the smugness of my smile when I woke up today with only a sore arm.
Then The Engineer (who got his second shot yesterday) mentioned how cold it was in the house and that he had a “sinus” headache.
“It’s side effects from the vaccine,” I said, smug smile growing wider.
Yeah. You know what’s coming. Within a half hour, I began to feel chilled, with the onset of a headache.
It’s not unbearable, but we’re both going to take it easy the rest of the day and save planting my fruit bushes until tomorrow.
Also, I feel compelled to tell you about a man who came into the grocery store where I work. I asked if he needed help, not even noticing he didn’t have on a mask until my co-worker pointed it out.
Assuming he’d forgotten his, I got the box of them we keep for such circumstances. When I came back, he was nowhere to be found, and my co-workers told me he’d already been asked to put on a mask.
He pulled one out of his pocket and made some comment about someone already “telling on him.”
I felt like saying, “What are we? Five?”
Having worked a somewhat physical job for over a year wearing a mask to protect myself and others, I must admit I’m finding it difficult to be patient with people with such attitudes.
Must sign off now. I can feel a rant coming on, and I don’t want to get too political.
So, let’s just focus on the bees, shall we?