Today was the warmest day of the year so far, and the bees were excited to be out. Saw lots of drones so they’re probably already out mating at drone bars! Really, it’s true. They go to “congregations” and their only task is to mate. Which by the way is a fatal act because their, um, male parts stay with the queen they mate until she finds the next drone who will remove it. And so on and so on, until she is all done and heads back to the hive with all the eggs she’ll need for the rest of her life. The drones are stuck between a rock and a hard place. If they don’t mate, eventually the worker bees back home will stop allowing them into the hive to be fed and cared for. Rough life, and these ladies don’t play.
I was so busy beekeeping at the end of the summer last year, I didn’t have the bandwidth to focus on blogging. So, I have lots to share. At the height of the summer I had five hives! That’s after starting with just two nucs. By the start of the fall, one hive swarmed, and I lost a queen in another so I had to combine those two hives to end up with four. And they all survived the winter! As a matter of fact, the winter was so mild, one very industrious colony started making honey in late February. Check it out! They built that comb on the inside of the cover of the hive and started making honey from some very early blooming.
I learned how to make be fondant and fed them through the winter once they ran out of honey stores. Spent a lot of anxious time in the cold with my ears pressed to the hive to make sure they were buzzing away in there, all clustered up.
Sipping on a cup of coffee this morning in front of the house, I noticed the bees and other pollinators (carpenter bees) loving on the cherry blossoms. Caught a cool video. It’s plant sex, y’all! Nothing you wouldn’t find in a biology class, but still…