Things are really booming in the bee yard, as blossoms begin to bloom here in Charlotte. Dead nettle is one of the first "weeds" to put on their colors for the season, and my honey bees love it.
This little bee worked a patch of dead nettle so fast it was amazing to watch. Some day I'll have to remove all this from our raspberry and blackberry patch, but for the time being we have a dead nettle patch.
Red maples are bursting open throughout the Queen City. It's a valuable pollen source for honey bees, hungry after winter.
'Tis also the season for mentees to get more hands-on experience. I put my group to work again, letting them work in pairs. At left, Kathy Baughman and Mary Fabian inspect and record results from one of my booming hives, while Chris and Mary Jo Odom inspect another over-wintered nucleus colony (nuc). They ended up making a split off of that nuc and one other. More splits, more queens, more bees!
And here is her royal highness just before I relocated her in an artificial swarm. She's in the bottom right corner, having just laid an egg.
Mary Jo shows off a frame heavy with brood, bees and honey. The brood pattern here is exceptional. This queen is a rock star.
And here is the second over-wintered 2015 queen we relocated in an artificial swarm on Sunday. Who says queens can't be found on honey frames? Here is proof that sometimes they do find their way there. Notice the drone brood at the bottom of the frame (top left in this photo). With mating season having just begun, I allow drones from my rock star queens to emerge and populate the skies. We're spreading great genetics and want to provide our share of male bees that will help make future queens. Here in Charlotte we really do put the queens in the Queen City!
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Tom Davidson is the owner and beekeeper at T's Bees.
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