The days are finally warming a bit. The usual spurts of cold rainy days are still here, for sure, but the days are getting longer and warmer. A welcome time for bees and barn cats too!
The bees really like these little crocus flowers. We have a small patch out front.
The crocus started blooming a few weeks ago and, when they could, the bees were on them. They had evidently found other things as well. Watching the hive I found a lot of pollen moving in and trying to track the path of the bees, I could see that they were busy flying off to the north and south where we have neighbors with something blooming. Not much is out right now, with the exception of some deciduous trees like aspen which can produce a bit of pollen. The collection of pollen is a good sign as it indicates the bees are busy feeding young.
It seems the number of bees has been increasing a bit and I have been feeding them with a feeder outside the hive when it has been warm enough. They suck down these quart jars of sugar syrup pretty quickly. I'm inclined to back off on those some now as things are starting to bloom more. Looking in the window of the hive, I can see they have been busy and not all of their activity is to my liking. They sometimes have a tendency to build comb across the bars in a perpendicular fashion. While this is natural for them, it makes maintenance of the hive difficult. Hence, it is time for some spring clean up.
This weekend, one year since installing this hive, I opened things up and went through the hive comb by comb. Here is an example of cross combing. A kitchen knife is use to slice off these comb spurs. They will repair the cut ends and, hopefully, avoid the crossing again. I also finally took out the old queen cage from last year. I'll melt this wax down and do something with it. It smells quite good actually.
There was a fair amount of capped brood ready to hatch out, as well as the puffy drone cells that hold the males. I did not directly see the queen, but that's not unusual for me. I miss half the stuff I'm looking at anyway, which is why I take lots of photos. I took out the feeding station I had placed in the hive previously (see here), and moved the combs all down to one end of the hive to open up the rest of it for the anticipated summer bounty.
All in all, the bees were in good behavior through the whole process and I think we are now ready to proceed into the rest of the season.