Spring 2019!!! The Bees are Coming Back!
The past couple of weeks have not lacked for excitement. Package bee supplies are short in northern California, and that has led to many adjustments for a lot of people to put the pieces together . There has been too much wet and cool weather to spur bee production and queen mating. Currently there is a three week delay compared to normal years. As I posted about an earlier almond crop progress report, the area where some of the big bee package suppliers are located had 0-3 hours per day of pollination hours during the almond bloom at temperatures generally less than 70F, and that made for a long hard climb that has annihilated millions of dollars for the bee and queen producers in that region. I've come to view large scale beekeeping as much more about overcoming fairly regular misfortune than following a yellow brick road of opportunity, and 2019 is starting out awfully rough for many folks. The ripple effect is significant nationally.
Happily, we do have a load of bees back from almonds. Here is Josi soon after they landed. The picture at the top of the post shows Andrew's excitement to be involved in the arrival too :)
These bees have really good populations but contained less capped brood than normal. We've had them on feed for the past two weeks to keep them healthy until the pollen and nectar start rolling into the hives. Yesterday the trees really opened up, so hopefully they can fend for themselves once we have more reliable warm weather. Dandelions and apple blossoms can't come soon enough.
The rest of our bees should be back in the next 10-14 days, and then there won't be much of a pause for the next two months unless spring rains force us to kick back. Away we go!