A pandemic year has passed, but the bees do not care. They are simply the honey bees, and quite simply remain magnificent, marvelous and as mysterious as ever. I've been fortunate to have another 100% over-wintering success this past season, and now the work begins.
My first business was selling two over-wintered nucs, one a tiny swarm that landed in my apiary in mid-October, and the other a late summer increase, both of which were booming. The two nucs exhibited beautiful top to bottom brood patterns, another testament to using oxalic acid glycerin sheets as my method of Varroa control. That stuff simply works, and I'm not looking back. I called my friend who'd lost all of his bees, asking to buy bees in the early fall. I refused, and told him to wait until spring and let this beekeeper carry the risk and burden of over-wintering. He did, and was rewarded. Their laying patterns and queens were both beautiful, and slightly dark. Then, I went fishing.
The next day I finally got into the one hive that's made me nervous from looking at afar. Already bearding up outside in 60-degree weather, I knew they were over-crowded and swarming was around the corner. Sure enough, on the first inspection I found queen cells, but thank goodness also eggs, so I cut them all down and moved on. After expanding the nest by half, and adding a super, I made my first split increase of the year. I hope I've done enough to avert a swarm from this beautiful colony, but if not, at least I'll get two hives out of the equation, God willing. After smashing one too many small hive beetles escaping propolis jails, I marvelled at the brood patterns this beauty bestowed.
So far, so good on 2021. This is a year of hope and promise. Let's pay it forward. Teach others, and yourself, how to be and how to beekeep, and leave the rest up to God.
Tom Davidson is the owner and beekeeper at T's Bees.
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