The spring is running about 7 - 10 days ahead of schedule. Dandelions are blooming everywhere around the metro area. Normally they bloom in the first week of May.
|Wild Plums in bloom. They smell wonderful. I like just to stand and take in the fragrance and watch and listen to the bees working the plum flowers.|
I was driving down 94 this afternoon and noticed wild Plum trees starting to bloom. Plums are usually the first fruit trees to bloom. So the fruit bloom is coming on strong. Other fruit trees will be blooming soon. There will be widespread good quality pollen available wherever fruit trees are. The challenge will be cool temperatures and the bees being able to get out and pollinate.
The weather forecast is for cool temperatures. Tonight, lows in the 30's. I don't think we will see a frost, so good news to the fruit growers. This cooler weather may chill some brood on any outlying frames.
When it gets cold the bees cluster will contract, this keeps the core of the colony warm. But sometimes the bees can pull off outside frames and the brood on the fringes can chill and die. So if you start seeing dead partially developed pupae in front of your hives in the next few days, you can guess this is what happened.
This cooler weather looks like it will be sticking around for the next 10 days or so. The bees may have a harder time getting out to collect pollen. The highs may be in the upper 50's and low 60's. But the window for pollen collection may only be a couple hours a day, if it is raining there may be no pollen collecting at all. Pollen patties should be on all colonies for the short term.
After the fruit bloom is over, there is usually a dearth in pollen for two - three weeks. Pollen patties should be on during this time. The pollen patties will help keep colony populations increasing as the nectar flow approaches.
Divides are happening as soon as queens are available. The cooler weather may slow divides down a bit. But over the next three weeks divides are the order for strong over wintered colonies. If a strong colony is not divided they will swarm for sure and that will negatively impact the hives honey collection.
Nature's Nectar LLC does buy divides if a beekeeper has had good wintering success and does not want any more colonies.