We inspected all of the colonies again today and were pleased to see so many bees. Dandelions are popping up everywhere, and our Nanking cherries are blooming, with the peaches due in a few days, so the girls are bringing in lots of pollen and nectar, and orientation flights are getting more dramatic every day.
Our two largest colonies have two full deeps of brood, minus some frames loaded with pollen and honey. We saw a few drones in one of the colonies, but there is a lot of drone brood that is capped and hatching also in every colony. We added supers with drawn comb to the big colonies so they have more room to store nectar. Otherwise they will backfill the brood nest with nectar, which precipitates a swarm. Right now we are focused on making sure that the bees have enough empty drawn comb and have enough honey and nectar to feed their brood so that they aren’t honey-bound and over-eager to swarm.
We don’t have any queen cells developing yet – a good thing – so we’re planning to start splitting within the week. This is when we pay close attention to the bee lifecycle. Drones will not be fertile for some time after emerging, around two weeks. It takes a colony just slightly longer to build a queen. Once the drones are flying and the new queens hatch things get really exciting.
If you’re adopting some of our bees this year we are happy to let you observe and help with splits – we will start next week, with a warm sunny day.