Sunday, January 24, 2010

Lots of Rain, Freezing Temps, Happy Bees

It rained all last week, pretty much without pause, and when the rain let up the overnight temp dropped below freezing. But during this past weekend the sun was out during the day and we got up to the low 60's, so every hive was busy with bees out front taking cleansing flights, gathering pollen and nectar, cleaning out the deceased bees, and just getting some fresh air.

They take "cleansing flights" because they won't poop in their hive. So, they have to hold it overnight and during bad weather--- so needless to say, when conditions are good they're in a big hurry to get out of the hive!

LOTS of pollen coming in to every hive, oddly enough... I don't know where they're getting it, but since a lot of it's orange I'm assuming there are some California Peppers blooming somewhere...

I'm having my logo and labels worked on so I'll be ready to sell honey this year at the local farmer's market. I'll share both in this blog once they're done.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Warm Weather and Busy Bees

We're having a warm spell here in SoCal, and the bees appear to be reacting by bringing in a bunch of pollen--- which may mean the queens have all started to step up the pace of egg-laying. As spring approaches bees start building up their population, which they allowed to kind of stabilize through the winter so they wouldn't use up their food stores.

I'm guessing one source of pollen is California Pepper trees (bright orange pollen); but there's a white pollen coming in too; don't know what that is.

My concern is that they're misreading the weather a bit, and the "build-up" may be a bit premature. We're supposed to have another week of nice weather, and then some rains... and typically we still get some sub-freezing nights/mornings in January, followed by February, our wettest month. If it gets too cold for too long there may be a problem keeping all the new brood warm (not enough bees to cover all of it, possibly). We'll just have to see.

I'm optimistic that this will be a strong honey season, though, because so far the hives have stayed well-populated and healthy. I need to remember to do a mite check this next week on the two Carniolan hives in particular, to see if the powdered sugar treatment I gave 'em last week had any impact.


I visited a local Farmer's Market today, and once again found that no one is selling any local honey. Seems like a great place to target for my harvest this year. I've also got two retail stores who have indicated they'd like to carry my honey, so I'll have plenty of outlets for this year's crop.