Dogwoods in bloom is one of my most favorite things in life, and signs of early spring.
And another is seeing fresh virgin wax being spun out by my nucleus hives (or nuc's). In fact, they are drawing out new combs faster than I anticipated. This is a sure sign that spring is in full swing. And yes, this is Duragilt foundation, that stuff everyone says bees will not draw out. This frame has been in this nuc for only a week, and it was one of two frames. Both are about half-way finished and should be completed within a week. These nuc's are working like gangbusters to give their queens ample room to lay, and a-laying they are!
Azaleas, too, are putting on a show.
Everything seems like it's blooming right now, but the truth is that it's only begun. The first flowers of spring are truly spectacular, including this humble ivy. I had no idea its flowers were so beautiful. I wonder, do my bees visit these? The smells of the hive have truly shifted, sudden and powerfully. At first it was overwhelming. Then I realized, "Yes, spring truly is here and the nectar flow is really hitting hard."
There is an amazing perfume floral smell that is so overwhelming in the hives I thought there might be a problem until I smelled more closely and realized it's the overwhelming smells of all the different nectars and pollens coming into the hives. Then I smelled the beautiful tiny flowers on a row of holly bushes, and that is most definitely something I've been smelling coming in the hives recently and in a powerful way. This yellow swallowtail certainly knows. I had no idea holly smelled so sweet. It is truly strong and wonderful to the nose. I had to watch my face as I buried my nose in the hedge, hoping I wouldn't get stung by any of the honey bees, wasps, bumble bees, mason bees and even flies that are attracted to the holly's nectar. I have a new-found respect for holly.
And here is a sight that is both beautiful and frightful all at the same time. My 2014 White Dot Queen nuc has exploded, and in an effort to give itself more room for the queen to lay it constructed comb on the side of its inner feeder. So until I cut the comb out and string it into a frame, that feeder stays in. What's unfortunate is that they've constructed this comb so that she is laying on both the underside and outside of this comb. This is going to be a project. I decided to save it for a future weekend endeavor. But, look at that beautiful tight laying pattern of worker brood. I think I know what I'll be doing this coming weekend: clean-up and expansion of this amazing nuc turned full-size hive.
Alas, I couldn't let that be the last shot of this post, not when there are so many glorious dogwoods to show. I love living in an established neighborhood with even more established trees that put on glorious displays each and every spring and fall.
And this is just an ordinary bush, at least that's what I always thought until I saw it in bloom the other day. Spring in sweet Carolina is truly something to behold! Just ask my bees, and they will tell you.
Tom Davidson is the owner and beekeeper at T's Bees.
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