Hello Almond Pollination 2019!
Did you notice Alex's arm in the last post? That's what happens when you're super strong, try to lift a tipped over 700 lb barrel of honey by hand, and a tendon pops off. Conferencing was a good activity for rehab! But hey, we're beekeepers, so the next thing he did was fly with me from Phoenix to California to work bees in the almond orchard while he is still one-handed. It's remarkable what a person can achieve while still on the disabled list! His glove didn't fit over his immobilized left arm, so he barehanded most of the venture. Luckily, the bees were extremely even-tempered in their Cali environment! The picture at the top of the post is a holding yard with three loads from another Iowa beekeeper. Ours were already in the trees waiting for bloom, so here is some evidence of our doings!
We needed to check on the bees' status and give them any supplementary feed to help them reach their best strength by early February. We did have some mortality, but it looks like the bulk of them will be strong enough to make grade when the blossoms arrive. Some hives already had some good capped brood two weeks ago, but most of them were showing eggs and small larvae as the days begin to lengthen. We are pretty strongly Carniolan since we've always overwintered in Iowa, so our bees require some convincing to believe it's time to make babies in January. Here are some that are on a hive stand in case of flooding--they were a bit tricky to check!
We had a great time learning the ropes in the almond orchard. I'll need to go back to check on them again soon, but it looks like our first foray into migratory beekeeping won't be a failure! We will hope to be venturing through the orchards in 2020 if all goes as planned!