The bee roundup has involved forging through early snow. The forecast proved extremely accurate for a change. Both snowfalls mentioned in the last post actually occurred in roughly the amounts predicted. The last round dropped around four inches. A couple of days ago it drizzled enough rain to melt off the snow. Now I need frozen ground to move any bees without tearing up the ground. Luckily the first semi load is just about ready to go, so I’m not under pressure to bring a bunch more hives onsite for the next few days. The truck in the photo below is our first 4×4 bee truck. It came off of an online auction in Texas last year. It has gotten a lot of use moving hives all over the place, and the four-wheel drive has been rather crucial in that project.
The bees are holding up well in the grand scheme of things. I’ve only seen one hive that dropped its bees since the cold spell hit. That is a useful filter for determining hive health and eliminating hives too weak to travel to California. It is sad to see any hives die or dwindle to nothing, but it’s better for us to have it occur on the Iowa side rather than pay to ship doomed hives back and forth (four thousand miles round trip).
There is only a little feeding to complete this week. It’s getting cold enough overnight that the syrup chills and slows consumption considerably. We have a few days in the forties this week that may accelerate storage in our favor. I hope so! Yesterday the access to one yard looked pretty muddy, but we were able to snake the hose across the ditch and through the bushes. Success!!!
If all goes as planned, the first truckload of hives will be on its way before the next post!