Most of us who have been enjoying the truly strange early spring knew that a late freeze risk was possible. The hard freeze (24 degrees in NE Ohio) predicted for tonight will stress or even kill lightly-stored bee colonies. They have brooded up and will use their remaining stores to produce metabolic heat needed to incubate the brood. There is not much the beekeeper can do at this point. At least the cold snap is suppose to only last a single night. We all hoped this return to winter would not happen. Alas…
VSBA, thanks for a wonderful, wonderful event at your Spring, 2012 meeting in Richmond, VA. (For those who don’t know, just a few days before the event, the meeting site had to be completely changed.) Everything worked well on essentially no notice. Great meeting site, great crowd, and good spirits. What an outstanding bunch of beekeepers!
To date, I am in the minority. For most of you, Maple is an obvious, viable source of early spring pollen. I certainly don’t doubt your observations. On my 4 medium-sized Maples, with binoculars, for about 5 observations on 4 different days, I could see may be 10-15 bees per observation. No clouds of bees. No hum of bees. Just the occasional forager. Certainly, these casual observations are not science. There are far too many variables not considered. In Ohio, beekeepers have the same issue with soybeans. Rarely, rarely a surplus honey crop from soybean – yet in other states, beekeepers routinely get major crops. I will be watching my maples again next year.
Maple blooms portend the arrival of spring for honeybees, yet I rarely (never) see a forager on maple blooms. Are maples getting credit for the pollen efforts of other early blooming plants or do I need stronger glasses?
I have posted a short YouTube video called Spring Bee Flight. The day was nice and I wanted to be involved with my bees without actually opening a hive. See what you think.
Maples are in bloom in the Mid West. The flowers are not much to look at. Is it odd to say that it’s my favorite flower? Certainly my bees look forward to their blooming. It’s time to get ready for spring. I love seeing this blossom each year.
I would appreciate any information and testimonials anyone might have related to new equipment offerings in the catalogs or that you may have constructed yourselves. I am presenting a discussion this upcoming Saturday on “New but useful equipment”. I could use some help.
I have posted a PDF file of my presentation, Robbing Behavior of Honey Bees for those interested in the subject.
After a (very) fast two weeks, my wife and I are once again home in Ohio. It will take many months to digest all the experiences, events, photos, and memories. To all the people who helped us find our way around the two countries and to the individuals who hosted us, we can only offer a humble thanks. It was a beautiful experience. (We saw some beehives, too, but I will talk about that later.)