Chilly Spring Beekeeping — April 2022

The truckloads of bees have been rolling back into Iowa. Last December, Andrew cried when he thought he was going to be in school when the last bee truck left us, and he’d totally missed the others. He just barely got to participate in that last 2021 load, but this spring he is having better fortune. In the image above, he is enjoying time up on the step of a semi trailer with our latest load of bees. He independently climbed right up and got to work without a second thought, which was fun since he had never climbed up on that job. He also really enjoyed having dad hand down some 2×6 boards from the top of the load. He keeps asking to go all the way on top of the load, but that request hasn’t received approval yet. Falling off the top of a bee load is sadly too common and has pretty terrible consequences. The spaces between hives that don’t have cleated ends make it pretty easy to lose your footing too.

This night load had 488 hives on it since we had some singles on the backend. Singles can go six high on the back of a stepdeck trailer.
Here is the night load after we set it down a few days ago. Populations looked good, but they came in light and in need of groceries to keep them from starving in a slow Iowa spring that is flowerless so far.

None of the bees have enjoyed much flight time since landing back in Iowa. Highs mostly remained below 50F and in the 20s-30sF overnight. Brrr! The maple buds are swelling, and there are hints of green in the grass, but overall this spring is running a couple of weeks late. Of course, spring is also good at “catching up” once the heat arrives, and that will put pressure on us to keep pace when the moment arrives. Here is an image of the bees that are waiting for us. Populations are quite high, especially considering we already split them a month ago in California!

Two boxes of bees are exactly what everyone wants to see after the bees return from almond population.