My hive didn’t do so well over the winter. The queen is still there but I only found a few hundred bees around her (normal hive is in the tens of thousands – healthy hive is 70,000). I moved them to a nuc (small 5-frame box) to see if they can turn things around — if they do, I’ll have two hives.
I ordered a new package of bees, which I installed Saturday. Today I released the queen who stays in her own cage for several days until the new bees (who aren’t her kin) decide she smells ok and can be their matriarch. She has already mated with some drones in California, so she has all she needs to lay up to 2,000 eggs a day (less in the winter) for 5 years or so. The other bees’ job is to keep the queen alive and prepare cells so she can lay eggs that will hatch into their replacements. Tough life. After a month or so the whole hive will be the new queen’s progeny.
Here’s a little video, at half speed, of today’s hive entrance activity –
And some photos –
Orange-legged one on the right (facing down with spread wings) is bringing in pollen
Bees are pretty interested in the queen who is in that corner of the hive (but inside)
Coming in for a landing
Peach blossom harvest
Installing the bee package (plastic white box at my feet)
An old, old folk song – first recorded in 1909. Covered by the likes of Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, and Jeff Buckley over the years. My favorite version is from the soundtrack of Inside Llewyn Davis (which I haven’t seen) – beautiful harmonies by Oscar Isaac and Marcus Mumford. Here’s my attempt at beautiful harmonies by me and me.