It’s been a few months since I last wrote about the bees, and since then we’ve had a very soggy cold start to the spring. I had been waiting to open up the hives and do a quick inspection until we started having some days above 60 degrees which we finally made it to over the last couple of weeks. I took off the upper layer of burlap and wood shavings from the hives which helps to reduce moisture inside the hive over the winter. I had been worried about the moisture inside the hives with the record setting last few months of rain we’ve had, but aside from some mold on the underside of the top hive covers they looked good inside. I did a quick inspection of each hive by only removing a couple of frames in the top hive boxes, as I did not want to disrupt them too much while they are still in the early stages of rebuilding the hive after the usual winter die off. Each hive is a little different, but they all seem to be doing well. Our second hive that we started in 2014 from a split of our first hive, is consistently the strongest hive. This is Hive Rosemary, and the queen in this hive must have some great genes because this hive is always the quickest hive to build up its population and start putting away honey. True to form this hive looks the strongest of the three hives again this year.
The other two hives, Hive Rosalind and Hive Buttercup, also look good, and on sunny days there is quite a lot of activity outside all three hives. All in all I’m very pleased with how our hives have done over the last four years since we started beekeeping. We are fortunate to live in a location with plenty of forage plants for the ladies, and thankfully we have not experienced any losses due to pesticides or any of the other problems that have plagued bees for so many years. I take a fairly low maintenance approach to managing our hives, I don’t use chemicals to treat for mites, and I don’t remove very much honey from the hives, but we have plenty of honey for us and healthy bees, and that’s good enough for me!