Early Spring Check In

I opened the hive yesterday, if only because its currently my spring break and I had nothing else to do. The bees have been steadily coming and going like they usually do when its warm enough. Almost deceptively so really, since I expected their numbers to be much larger than they are. Only 4 or 5 frames were occupied, and a couple of frames of honey had been left untouched around the hive. I checked through the upper box first, and found the queen on frame with almost nothing on it (though there were bees cleaning the cells around her). There was only one frame with larvae/eggs on it, and a quarter of those were drones. I squished all the drone cells and moved the frame of honey that had been untouched much closer to the brood nest.

Moving to the lower box, almost every cell had little white globs of pollen in them, with a few patches of cells full of orange pollen. The frames farthest from the brood nest were beginning to mold, and dead bees were lying in between all of the frames. I removed the frames, then chiseled off the old propolis, which was dried and cracking, and brushed all of the dead bees out of the hive.

I switched the boxes to prevent swarming, though I doubt I’ll have to worry about that for months yet. I moved the last honey frames around too, so that two frames sit around the brood nest, and a few above. I’m almost unsure if these girls will make it, simply because so many died off during the winter. There isn’t anything blooming right now. The crocus’ are just finishing blooming, and the buds of the hyacinth are beginning to poke out of the ground. The bees are still flying out and about, as busily as ever, but so far as I know there won’t be a nectar flow for another week or two.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I might open them up in a week to see how they’re doing. I left a few empty frames around the frame with the eggs on it, to allow for easy expansion, but I’m not sure if that might be too much space from the honey frames. I’ll check next week and move things around if necessary.

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