My first spring walk around the estate today to see how well spring has sprung so far. Not much is happening. Things are budding and turning green but no real flowers are blossoming yet, save for a few dandelions and other yellow ground flowers. If we have daffodils anywhere, I cannot tell for I didn’t see a one.
There is one peach tree with a blossom. Another has green leaves, and the third looks to have died. The apple trees all have leaves budding, but no flowers yet. The cherries have small leaf buds as well.
As we’ve know for some time, the last of our bee hives died out over the winter. We are not getting a replacement hive this year. We’re taking a year off. I really want to get a hive, but the wife is right in talking me back from the edge. I have too much going on and I don’t need the stress and responsibility of raising bees this summer. I will really miss all the work they do around the yard pollinating though, especially if we revive the vegetable garden as planned.
Walking through the woods, everything is very wet. I doubt the ground will dry out any time soon.
In the front yard I noticed something peculiar. One of the black gum trees was cut down or gnawed down or magically fell. The two step break was really weird but I suppose an animal could have done it. This particular tupelo tree was dead on its main trunk so no great loss, just weird. there were shoots growing up from its base so I don’t know…do they grow up to be a tree someday?
Out of the five black gums we planted I think only two survived, so that was a pretty good waste of money.
Right now a walk around the yard is pretty uninspiring. Hopefully by May 1st things will be in bloom and drying out.
Days are getting shorter, and cooler as autumn creeps into Northeast Ohio. We checked the bees for the first time since there was a swarm a week or two ago. Methodically we examined all three hives, top to bottom. I don’t know if we found anything surprising, other than we can’t tell which hive swarmed, or if the swarm was even ours. All three hives seemed relatively healthy and strong. Though the next four weeks will be telling, as late fall and eventually winter approaches.
Hive No. 3: we saw eggs, though no queen. Their honey production is lacking as their medium super is empty. Like all three hives, the bottom deep box is fairly empty as well, devoid of much honey or brood I believe.
Hive No. 2: we saw no queen, and not necessarily any eggs either. Though towards the end of summer egg production goes down in preparation for winter. The hive was strong and well populated. It’s hard to believe that this would have been the hive that swarmed. Honey in hive No. 2 is in good supply and no apparent pests.
Hive No. 1: the largest hive has larvae and a queen. And likely close to 50K+ bees in it. We thought this would have been the swarm hive but there is a queen so it is not. This hive is beleaguered by pests though, including yellow jackets, hive beetles and mites. We treated the hive for mites and beetles, and squished as many yellow jackets as we could. The hive has at least 30 lbs. of honey in the lower medium super. We’ll have to see if we can harvest any or if we’ll just leave it for the bees for winter.
My suspicion is that we won’t harvest anything from hive No. 1 this fall. Hives No. 2 & No. 3 are off-limits ’til spring.
Elsewhere a deer decided to rut on one of the few trees I didn’t wrap, so of course I had to go out and wrap the trunk of a blaze red tupelo tree in the front yard.
Here are today’s photos:
I call them asters, not sure what they are but they are the last of the flowers. They are blooming everywhere right now in the valley.
Damage done by a whitetail deer on the truck of one of our gum trees.
I wrapped the trunk of this black gum tree to protect it from deer antlers.
Smoking the bees to calm them down.
The bees waiting to go back inside hive No. 1.
A frame with a lot of uncapped brood.
Christine had to smoke out and relocate various bee equipment because the bees were wound up after checking the hives – they followed us home. The air was thick with them.