If you pay attention to the news then you know that these are hard times for bees. Colony collapse is more common than ever, and parasites have also been taking their toll on pollinators. Moving our single hive hundreds of miles North in the back of a truck to a much cooler climate added to the risks they already face. Two weeks ago on a cold afternoon I was sure the colony was lost when I looked inside the bottom opening and saw nothing but dead bees. Very discouraging. Days later when the temps shot up to the low 60’s the hive was humming with activity as the survivors spent the day carrying out their fallen comrades, some dragging, some flying off with the dead. They had indeed lived through the winter.
Yesterday we noticed that lots of bees were returning to the hive with their legs loaded with pollen. Not much is in bloom right now except a long row of flowering cherry trees in the lower pasture, so we went to check it out. Twenty feet from the first tree you could hear the noise…an intimidating loud buzzing like someone just kicked over an active hive. Every tree was swarming with bees and they were flying from bloom to bloom, packing the yellow pollen onto their legs so they could bring it back to the colony. In a few days we’ll have to add a “super” to the top of the hive, a special box dedicated to honey production. Let the honey season begin!