It’s hard to tell by the calendar that it is only March. For the past 2 weeks we have had weather consistently in the 70’s to mid 80’s and mostly sunny. This would be the norm for late May or even June. Needless the to say the bees are very, very active and have plenty of flowers to forage on. Blooms are easily running 3-4 weeks ahead of schedule. Maples bloomed in late February and the tree to the right (a pear, picture taken March 21st) bloomed April 24th in 2009. It’s the same tree that is showing in this post.
The good news…. The bees are in great shape. Pollen patties went in last week. I really didn’t need them this year, but they were already made up so I went ahead and put them on anyways. A few hives are a bit light, but overall they are looking good and loss currently stands at around 5%.
The bad news…. ticks are already out, so are flies, mosquitoes (pests for the beekeeper not the bees), and small hive beetles look to be as strong as I normally see in fall already in some hives. Normally this hasn’t been a concern in our area, but we will have to keep a close eye on them. It’s quite possible we’ll have to do something about them this year.
So what does this mean? The weather and the bees are telling me I should be out grafting and getting ready to split hives (I see a heavy swarm season this year). But the calendar tells me the my earliest graft should be nearly 2 weeks away, and 3-4 weeks until I start splitting hives for mating nucs. For now I’m waiting because I’m worried this weather will pass and if we have a normal April mating could be a problem if I start too soon.