Today was a pretty good day, and seemed significant. The bees were all active, I broke the back of this season’s tree planting, I saw the first signs of willow catkins starting to break, and I put the first seeds of 2011 into the propagator. However, it seems that every silver lining has a cloud, and there were some aspects of the day that were a bit worrying.
Today was a good day. I manage bees for a local company, who own a biodynamic farm over the road from me. The bees are managed without opening the hives, which means that I check them every day during the swarming season, in order to try and take any swarms after they emerge from the hive.We also have bait hives out. They show when a swarm is looking for a new home, and can be occupied by a swarm. I had two swarms fly into bait hives last year.
A couple of days ago I warned them that I thought that the hives were close to swarming, and that we should check them twice a day for the next few days. My reasons were simple. Both hives were very busy, had lots of drones flying, we had kept them to two national brood boxes to restrict the space in the hive, and the cold snap was likely to have held them back from swarming, with the weather due to improve over the weekend, it just seemed likely. Not concrete proof, but a bit of educated intuition.