Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Successful Start to Spring

We took advantage of the glorious weather yesterday and started working for real on our spring To Do list.  

After losing a couple of buckets of sap to an over-curious dog, we still were able to end up with 6 pints of syrup.   Yum!   To see how we boil, check out the links in the sidebar.   It's an all-day and very smoky affair.  We make an event out of it.

While we were outside, I planted some peas, favas, radishes and arugula. It's supposed to be warm and rain for the next 6 days, so the soil should be just right for early peas.

Lily prepped the milk jugs so I could plant the tomatoes, pepper, eggplant, huckleberries, leeks and onions so they can get a head start on the season.   I tucked everyone in a small cold frame with a glass top.

Lily and I also inspected The Bees That Lived.   It's a tiny colony.   1/4 the size of a medium box - about the size of a nuc.   I think the reason they lived is that we had a well ventilated quilt box on them.   They still had a deep full of honey below them, but we're switching to all mediums so I pulled the deep and set it aside and condensed the hive space.   We saw the queen - beautiful!, made sure they had enough honey [plenty in the medium], put a pollen patty on top and some extra sugar blocks.   The brood was a tiny patch the size of your fist in 2 places.   They are slow to build up.  At any rate, now they have less space to defend and plenty of stores.  Let's hope the queen gets her act in gear and starts cranking out eggs.

I had set an unused quilt box on a stack of empty mediums and covered it up completely for the winter.  When we opened it, it was completely saturated with moisture and molding like crazy, even though it was filled with cedar and over an unheated stack of supers.   Good to know!   These quilt boxes are great - as long as they are ventilated!  I used regular construction shims/wedges to prop up one end of the inner cover I put over the quilt box on the bees.   Must have been just right because I didn't see any moisture or mold over the bees.

Lily and I took our first pings of the season.   That deep of honey I set aside started a bout of robbing.  My girls were pretty defensive and while we were taking care of things, I got pinged on the arm and neck and Lily took one on the ear.   I had to wet blanket the hive and that took care of it.  The rain the rest of the week should dampen any pillagers' spirit and leave my hive to build up - I hope. 

Afternoon update:  I checked the girls this afternoon.   All quiet on the apian front.   Thank heaven.


  1. Glad to hear the girls made it this far! If they have plenty of food and you reduced the space they should make it into Spring nicely!

    1. I surely hope so! I confess when I realized how much robbing I started, I was scared I'd just undone everything and signed their death warrant. Also, there's that fear that I'd accidentally rolled the queen putting things back together, etc. It's such a tiny colony. If they for reals make it, then I'm pretty sure I can get a nuc through the winter - and if I can do a nuc, then I can do a big hive. My next dilemma is mite treatment. How early in the season should I treat with MAQS? Should I treat at all? I just don't know.... Dilemma.

    2. My understanding is that you want to treat when mites are phoretic (not in the cells but on the bees). They are most vulnerable then. So to me that means early Spring and late Fall. But I don't know if there is a temperature requirement for the treatment?


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