2020 so far…still not such a good year.

First and foremost – our continued wishes that everyone is staying well and healthy, taking care of selves and others. It’s tough. Here we are now, looking at August. We’ve become adjusted to living with COVID. Mostly.. I still find watching the news a bummer. But this will end, at some point.. but it will.

2020 has been tough for bees as well, I am regularly being asked: “Where’s the honey?” “why no honey yet?”

We started out with a wet and downright cold spring. The bees started off with a great spring nectar flow in April, and maple tree and wild cherry seemed to be coming in fast; Then… the rains came, and it rained, and rained and kept raining. Growing colonies need lots of nectar and pollen. The brood is being produced at breakneck speed and there are a lot of little mouths to feed. Honey bees (unlike bumble bees) don’t fly in the cold and wet… they can handle drizzle and cool… but not what we had. They were stuck inside as a result.

They ate all.. and I mean ALL of the spring honey.

And the rains continued… right into the blackberry run. The first 2 weeks of blackberry flowering …was wet, and cold… This was getting not only alarming, it was feeling quite grim.

The weather of course did change and for the last 2 weeks of the blackberry nectar flow we had sun and warmth. The bees were working overtime. Then two things happened; the blackberry flowers finished, but the bees hadn’t. They hadn’t had the time to cap the honey, so it was sitting as open, wet frames. The nectar flow ending on such a short run was now inviting another round of eating all that had been collected, everyone is still hungry of course. That particular fridge door was not going to close, and the teenagers were all at home, unless more groceries showed up they’d be consuming all of that too.

Moving hives the small scale way, 8 hives per trip, Per site: 3 trips for the hives, 2 trips for the pallets, fencing and other gear. Then repeat to come down. Yes, a labour of love! Are we having fun yet?!
But I have my helper.
Then I have my helper with opposable thumbs!

Sooooo the hives were moved “heavy” up into the fireweed and now we wait.. for that. The uncapped blackberry is now mixing up with the fireweed. This year, what ever we get for honey… will be just … honey. beautiful honey but utterly unable to separate the nectar flows this summer.

I have given up making sense of this year. We will see what we get from the mountain. BUT we won’t know till the end of August.

Queen larva in a soon to be capped queen cup.
A native Columbine. The flowers of Faeries. I will gather a few seeds to propagate.