White clover is in full bloom. It makes me a bit guilty to cut the "grass". I always give the girls a chance to finish up their foraging before I do.
T's Bees had a happy time pollinating my long-ignored and still-shouldn't-be-there apple tree this year. And we may get a few apples out of it.
My uncapping tank allowed all those extra fat, juicy comb cappings that were cut off during honey extraction to drain. I went on vacation and came back to this pleasant surprise.
I weighed the results after the cappings tank honey was filtered. It ended up being 28 pounds more of honey! Apparently, the numbers on the tank correspond (roughly) to pounds of honey yielded from the cappings. Pretty cool, hunh?
A magnificent mystery tree in full bloom. What is this thing?
I call it the "Rasta Tree" because of it's blooms that look like dreadlocks.
When I returned home I also was welcomed by my spiffy new license plate, thanks to an effort spearheaded last year by the Watauga County Beekeepers (way to go!!!).
This was the view of my apiary when I left. Peaceful and serene with a peach tree weighing down with fruit overlooking the apiary.
When I returned I was also delighted to find the two now queen-right nuc's in my queen castle had really exploded. That was great. What wasn't great? This nuc was agitated and it took me no time to see why: water had collected in the bottom of the "castle" and not drained out. It rained the whole time we were away, and these nuc's were unhappy. I suddenly went into "Oh, SNAP!" mode, had to make two more insulated outer covers for nucs and transfer these girls into decent digs, complete with screened bottom boards. While doing so, I removed one seriously cross-combed brood frame that I'd been putting off (when I spotted the queen on another frame, I knew it was time to take it), and a couple of others in the adjacent nuc. Both seem much happier now.
This is my favorite new tool of the trade: a dampened rag looped onto my pants. No more constantly sticky fingers completely mucking up everything, including my mobile phone screen as I try to take photos.
"Wow-ee, look at all those bees pass by my kitchen window," I said to Yvonne a couple hours after finishing up, including situating those nucs. Remember those cross-combs of brood? I put them in the queen castle, lidded it and put it in the sun at the edge of my carport. Apparently all the bees in the apiary were quite interested!
Even after I removed the box the bees were determined that something of value had been there. They could smell it, so they started pooling on this corner. Weird. Fortunately, this didn't set off robbing in the apiary. I knew that by going back to the hives and while seeing the heavy traffic there was no fighting on the landing boards and the hives weren't in a defensive mode (meaning, stinging everything and one that comes near them).
I solved the situation temporary by moving the queen castle to a shady part of the carport and then putting a bed sheet atop it. Throughout the rest of the day I lifted a corner and fanned bees out from under it until no more remained. One thanked me with a sting on my middle finger (it's ALWAYS the middle finger).
Our tiger lilies are in bloom. I didn't think that honey bees liked them but sure enough I've spotted one furiously working a blossom. I think it's a nectar source for them.
More random pretty flowers from neighbors mailboxes. I just love these colors, especially in the morning dew.
And the magnolias are quite magnificent here in May. I so love their aromas from these giant puffs of marshmallow white the size of dinner plates, filling the town with more Carolina magic and beauty. I drink it in.
Tom Davidson is the owner and beekeeper at T's Bees.
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