Waiting for honey bee drones
It’s been hard to write about beekeeping of late because I’ve been so busy beekeeping. The mating nuc is ready, the swarm traps are hung, the bait hive is assembled, and the honey supers are ready to install. It was a lot of work. But part of the extra work was due to successful overwintering, so how can I complain? I’ve never had so many bees to care for in the spring.
I checked the hives again yesterday and they looked good. I haven’t seen a single drone yet, but that is due to the late, cold, extra-rainy spring we are having. The night air is frigid and frost whitens the ground every morning. The few flowers I have in bloom are stiff and brittle until noon. In a notation I found in last year’s calendar, I mention seeing the first drone on March 24. It’s nearly four weeks later this year, and I still haven’t seen one.
The honey bees are collecting a rainbow of pollen but nectar is still scarce. One hive has started building some bright white bridge comb that signals the beginning of a nectar flow. But if that one hive found a patch, they’re keeping it a secret—I saw no such evidence in the other hives.
Even though the maples have yet to bloom, spring is definitely in the air. Yesterday I saw several species of bumble bee, along with bee flies, mason bees, and tree frogs. One female mason bee was foraging on a dandelion, the rest of the masons were males loitering near the nest box waiting for the females to make an appearance. You could almost hear their collective sigh of impatience.