Okay! We have some catching up to do!
May was a busy month. A week apart, for three weeks, we trekked out to the bees and applied a drench of 1:1 sugar syrup + Honey-Bee-Health + Nozevit. Why? Because we’re trying to pep the bees up and pull them out of the nosema downward spiral. By the end of May the two remaining hives, Lena and Thor were looking pretty darn good. We even put supers on (the boxes that we harvest honey from) in late May.
In early May we went to the equipment action and bought two more hives. Two more! This is what happens when Mark lets Robin bid. We got them home, painted them (due to our obsessive-compulsive hive painting habit) and this last weekend, installed two ‘nucs’ in the new hives. Nucs are 5 frames of bees + brood (baby bees). Nucs are starter colonies on steroids, but with no steroids.
Mark was MIA for this adventure, so it was solo-Robin racing against incoming rain and a herd of ticks trying to attack. This is why a leaky box of bees was transported in the Jeep because Mark had the truck. [insert stinkeye from irritated wife HERE] The new hives have been named Lars (in keeping with the Norwegian theme) and Lili Von Shtupp (of Blazing Saddles fame – that’s right – yah, we know when you read the name you actually read it in a very high pitch voice in your head, just like the movie).
And finally, we also started our own nuc form Lena. In early June we found queen cells in Lena – that is a bad sign in the spring. Lena was so crowded she was preparing to swarm, meaning a new queen would emerge and take half the bees and leave. Homo sapiens call ‘divorce’. = Half your sh*t disappears. To stop the ‘bee divorce’ we put the frames with queen cells in a small box, a nuc, where we’re letting queen-making-magic happen. Once a queen is situatied and laying eggs, we’ll move that burgeoning colony back into Ole and viola (!) we’ll be five full colonies. If our nuc-making goes well, that means we saved $130 by not having to buy one. 😮
Lili Von Shtupp! I love references to the classics. Of course, as I find teaching college students (tempted to call them “kids” but refrained) any cultural reference to something that happened prior to Y2K goes right past them. Good work, Robin. Love the blog. Donald