Nice big queen

20140610-225650-82610040.jpgI want all my queens as big as possible. I look for her abdomen to extend three segments past the tips of her wings. This queens wings have been clipped, but you can tell she’s plenty big.

Swarms

20140528-111204-40324504.jpg

20140528-111204-40324171.jpgIts swarm season. I have been getting calls about swarms of bees for the past few weeks. I decided to put all my swarms in top bar hives this year. Every beekeeper has a story of the one that got away, sadly the swarm on the car drove away.

Mating nuclei

20140528-104000-38400408.jpgI just made up 25 nucleus colonies. I will let them sit queenless over night, then add queen cells tomorrow. I use all medium equipment so my nuc boxes hold 6 frames. I make them up with one frame of nectar, one frame of pollen, three frames of capped brood, and one empty comb. Wish my girls luck on their mating flights.

Queen rearing grant

20140527-162806-59286086.jpgI received this grant from the Philadelphia beekeepers guild to raise honey bee queens from locally adapted stock. Colonies that I raise daughter queens from have to be strong in the spring, survived a few winters, produce a surplus of honey, and be gentle. The money from this grant went towards equipment and package bees to increase the number of mating nucs i can make up. I came through winter with 16 hives and after picking up these packages I will have 26.

Spring is here

We are now in fruit bloom. Cherries, apricots, and plums are in full bloom. Maples started blooming last week and I’m anxiously awaiting dandelions. Here are a few pictures of early pollen sources.

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Marsh Marigold and Skunk Cabbage

 

 

20140528-120054-43254297.jpgI’m pretty sure this is a cherry

20140528-120053-43253458.jpgWitch Hazel