Today, as I prepared to get the lawn mower out, I noticed a significant number of water foragers around a rain puddle in front of my tractor barn. I changed my plans and posted the water foraging activity at: Honey Bee Water Foragers. It was bee biology in motion. I’ll mow later.
NWOBA, thanks for giving me the opportunity to talk to your group last evening. The room was full of mostly new beekeepers with a few old folks mixed in for good measure. I wish I had more good answers for the group and I hope our bees have the best season ever. (It’s just the normal beekeeper dream.)
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?
A Maple Bloom (NE Ohio, March 2012)
I just attended a great West Virginia bee meeting at the Heritage Farm Museum and Village sponsored by Cabell Wayne Beekeepers Association. In the near future, an impressive honey bee exhibit will be included on the grounds. Spectacular facility and impressive heritage museum.
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.
Spring time maple in full bloom
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.