“A swarm in May is worth a load of hay,
A swarm in June is worth a silver spoon,
A swarm in July isn’t worth a fly.”
Late season swarming and a long, extremely cold winter resulted in the lost of five of our eight hives. Our two remaining hives have been going strong this winter and just recently swarmed.
“Swarming: the natural means of reproduction of honey bee colonies. A new honey bee colony is formed when the queen bee leaves the colony with a large group of worker bees, a process called swarming. In the prime swarm, about 60% of the worker bees leave the original hive location with the old queen. This swarm can contain thousands to tens of thousands of bees. Swarming is mainly a spring phenomenon, usually within a two- or three-week period depending on the locale, but occasional swarms can happen throughout the producing season.” (Source: Wikipedia) Read more
My recently captured swarm – which split from another one of my hives that had gotten overcrowded – seems to be settling into their new hive, which my father constructed from two supers and a couple pieces of spare plywood. As soon as I have some extra money I will purchase a spare hive to have on hand in case they ever decide to swarm again. I ordered another hive and some honey supers, which should arrive today (thanks to Rossman Apairies’s great service and willingness to ship the same day I ordered to help me out!). I plan to put the temporary hive on top of the new hive I ordered, in hopes that over the winter they will travel down into the deep body and I can clean and reuse the honey supers for there intended purpose.
Now that the crowding in the hives is undercontrol I am dealing with a hungry blackbear! He has already forced me to move the hives from my house down to my parents, but they cluster of homes (and dogs) don’t seem to phase him, as he has been spotted curiously checking out my neighbors chicken coop the last couple of nights. Looks like an electric fence will be necessary!
Winter is in full swing… so not much to do with my bees except leave them alone. Soon however, I will be ordering two more packages of bees in hopes of avoiding the chaos of last spring… which was the result of ordering too late in the season and a bad first time experience with Draper’s (long story short, I won’t be ordering from them again. If you are ordering bees and want to know why, just ask and I will give you the long version).
This year, I am going to placed my order with Rossman Apiaries. The 2009 package bees with queen run about $62.00 per package. If I place my order now, I will get earlier delivery dates, allowing the bees to get established before the first nectar flow in the spring. Spring will be here before I know it!