Spring Bees and a Grounded Swarm
It takes us about a month to get through all of our bees during splitting season. Around April 15, there's really no problem with having the winter wraps still on the hive. Warm weather in May, however, can make the hive decidedly stifling when the winter insulation is still attached. The image below shows a bee beard that would be pretty excessive even during the July/August peak of summer heat. Lots of new bees, warm weather, and winter insulation can keep the hive confines a little toastier than we desire.
I'm just about done splitting, thankfully. I'm looking forward to getting the honey supers out en masse. On a separate note, a fellow about a mile down the road called me over to retrieve a swarm that was on the ground. It had moved around his property for several days before winding up in a pile of mulch. I presume the queen is dead or injured--honeybees don't like to cluster on the ground. Anyway, I got most of them into the box and I'll let everyone know the outcome. Here is the moment after I placed a hive in front of them. They quickly determined that my box of frames constituted a far superior situation for their living environment.