Wednesday, March 25, 2015


I saw pollen going into both hives today. Pollen! I have no idea where that pollen is coming from. I have yet to see anything blooming. The temperature reached 60 and the bees were busy. Apparently I have two living and laying queens.

I saw lots of disoriented looking bees crawling around outside of the Benedictium, perhaps young bees making orientation flights.

I saw three bees being carried out of the Josephium. The carrier bee flew out low into the yard and dropped them. I wonder what that was about.

I opened up the Josephium and dusted a mob of bees off the queen cage. The cage was full of bees, the candy plug was eaten. The west side of the interior empty supers was bearded with bees, maybe getting some warmth. I put the crown cover under the empty supers and placed the queen cage and feeding can on top of it, and then closed up the hive. I hope it will be warmer with the crown cover lower.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Surviving the Spring

At least so far the josephianae have been keeping their queen alive through the 28 degree spring nights. I opened up the Josephium and saw a shiny black queen with a few attendants in her cage surrounded by a cluster of defensive bees. I eventually managed to brush them off and pull out the cork. I put the cage with its candy plug back in the hive and closed up. I took out the caged and shook out the few remaining clingers and closed up the hive.

As for the Benedictium, I put in four more pounds of sugar dissolved into 2:1 syrup in the feeder pail.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Salve Josephinum

Our Russian queen arrived today with three pounds of bees. We moved the old Valentinium to a new rail further uphill and at an angle from the Benedictium and shook the bees in. I fit in 10 frames, 6 of uncapped nectar left by the valentinianae, three of empty comb, and one completely empty frame. I put the queen and some syrup on top, and the not-quite empty box there two, with a couple of empty medium supers, followed by the crown cover upside down, and then the telescoping top.

I hope they do okay. Temperatures will get down below freezing tonight.

There is still nothing in bloom. Nothing.

I think I'll call it the Josephinum in honor of today.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Valentinium Requiescat in Pace

Today I took apart the Valentinium. There were so few bees in it and so much uncapped nectar that I was beginning to think it had suffered from the Mary Celeste Syndrome, i.e., colony collapse disorder. Then I eventually came across a small cluster of about 100 dead bees, including the marked (marked!) queen. There was no sign of disease, nor brood of any kind.

Sunday, March 8, 2015


It looks like we are finally getting some seasonal weather, and the bees are out in force gathering wet snow and making cleansing flights. I removed the mite boards from the hives. I saw plenty of pollen and varroa mites on both boards. I saw a couple of beetles along with plenty of sugar on the Benedictium's board. I hope these were not small hive beetles.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Feeding time

I put sugar syrup, 4 pounds of sugar to one quart of water, on the hives today. The temperature was about 35 degrees and there was plenty of snow falling from the hive. One of the benedictianae stung me on the right wrist. This is my second sting from the Benedictium. The first was back in September.