Friday, February 19, 2010

Those Damn Mites Again

As the hives already start building up for spring during this spate of perfect weather--- rain, then sun, then more rain, then more sun--- and blooming hillsides, that doggone Carniolan hive is still clobbered with mites. They're starting to haul larval corpses out; I saw one this morning. Never a good sign. And sure enough, when I pulled the sticky board for a check, there were more mites than I felt like counting.

I'll treat this weekend with powdered sugar. Now that I've got the bellows figured out, it's a real easy way to treat. I just don't know how effective it really is.

It's too bad, cuz the hive is really trying to build up. Tons of pollen coming in, as was evidenced by the amount that had fallen through the screened bottom board to the sticky board below. But judging from the fallen debris, they've only got about 3 working frames of bees, so they may be on their way out...

I'm going to open a few hives this weekend and track the progress of the supers I put on all the stronger hives. We had ideal foraging weather for about two weeks, and it's raining outside tonight, with a clear forecast for tomorrow--- so it continues to be a great run-up to spring.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Ceonothus in bloom

The California chaparral offers a variety of great forage for bees, and with the rains we had in January we're already seeing some really robust blooms. Right now the ceonothus is blooming, making parts of the hills look like they got a very light dusting of snow. Tiny flowers in clumps, somewhat lilac-looking from a distance, and very sweet-smelling--- which is why it's also known as California Lilac. The bees LOVE 'em, and my handy reference book about chaparral flora says this is an important food source for bees.

Bottom line is, I'm gonna check stores this week and see if they're full. If they are, I'll throw some supers on and try to get some VERY early honey harvest.