By KATHY COX
Well, we skipped Spring altogether and have gone right into Summer. Weather has been whacky! Everything with bees has been whacky. Many hives have starved, because of the rain and inability to get out for resources. Build up has been slow or non existent. Queens have been poorly mated or not mated at all. Swarms are happening like crazy. I think since everything was slow in the apiary, we will see swarms into July. Keep checking for swarm cells every 7-9 days. Blackberrys are blooming and finally have heat to pump up the nectaries. Grey pollen is coming back from the berries. It is great to finally see the bees in the air foraging.
Nectar takes so much more space than honey, so make sure to add supers when the last one is getting full. If you have supers getting filled you should stop feeding so that the honey is not a mix of nectar and sugar water. Make sure to have an upper entrance so the foragers don’t have to go through the brood area and queen excluder to deposit their bounty. If the bees are reluctant to move up, bait the hive body with a frame of pollen and/or nectar.
Don’t forget a dearth of nectar is coming after the blackberry flow. Be prepared to feed again. Knotweed and Ivy will bloom towards the fall.
Don’t forget to do a mite wash to determine if the hives need treatment. Most all do need to knock down the mites before winter, or they will perish. Check out Randy Oliver’s website, Scientific Beekeeping. There is so much there to help you with mites and more.
Our monthly meeting is tonight. Come at 6:30pm for the beginners’ meeting. Our speaker is from WSU. You can attend in person at the Center for Urban Horticulture at the U of W or virtually.
Check the calendar for the apiary parties to see inspections. Make your reservation!
Get to know your neighborhood captain. They are great sources of information and can mentor new beekeepers. Find them on the website.
Stay hydrated out there with the bees. And make sure you have pans of water with rocks in them for the bees to stand on. I add a few grains of salt, which the bees seem to love.
Until next month,
Master Beekeeper U of Montana
PSBA VP, Education Chair, Neighborhood Captain