Bluff Beekeepers Calendar: March

Bee swarm. Photo by Sichy007 // Creative Commons.

By Dudley Beck

Ring… Ring…Ring…

“Hello, this is Mike Young. What do you want?”

“‘Your’ Queen had 3-inch diameter capped brood plus eggs on March 16”, I say.

“What’s capped brood? Is that good ?”

“It’s great”, I say. “It means the developing babies are 9 days old. In 12 more days, hundreds if not thousands of new bees will hatch. The apricot trees started blooming on March 18, so that is perfect timing. Wes Shook came by to look too. We saw plenty of one-day-old eggs. That means she is alive and laying that very day, even though we didn’t actually see the queen.”

Wes, KB, and I have spent the rest of March cleaning old frames, checking for wax moths, and getting our sites ready (wind break, some shade) for new colonies. We got notice from the bee suppler that our package bees will be ready the first week in May. In the meantime, what about those swarms? I checked my log book. Swarms in Bluff have been seen the last week in April and the first two weeks of May.

So…all you swarm spotters, keep your eyes peeled, and call KB (801-560-5352), Wes Shook (805-458-1970), or me (435-979-2079). Write these numbers down and keep them in your wallet so you will be ready when you spot one. The sooner you call, the better our chances of collecting the swarm before they move on to a new location. While they are in the swarm, 2 percent (the scout bees) are flying out in all directions in a two mile radius looking for a new home. Once they find a good spot and come to consensus (can you believe that?!) within the swarm, off they go all at once. Many of you have probably seen or heard a loud swarm on the move in previous years. So we need to get there before they take off.

Do you have your pollinator flowers planted? Things should start popping in April.

Thanks for your help.

Stay Tuned…

— Dudley Beck, Bluff’s “bee guy”, will be providing the Canyon Echo with monthly updates from the life of a Bluff beekeeper.

— Questions? Post them in the comments below.

— Read Bluff Beekeepers Calendar – February