Austin is probably having one of the best springs in recent memory, and it seems everything is in bloom right now. Sometimes though, plants you think bees would be all over are completely ignored for something more mundane.
Take the photo below. This is from my backyard along my fence. One half of the fence is covered in jasmine in full bloom, and the other is wax leaf ligustrum from my neighbor’s yard which is a common builder’s shrub (also an invasive plant for Austin). Which one was covered in bees? If you guessed the jasmine, you are wrong. The bees were all over the shrub, and as you can see, even the butterflies were getting in on the action.
On a beautiful Sunday morning in Austin, TX, I opened up the hive to see how things were progressing. The top hive feeder still had quite a bit of syrup from my mid-week fill-up, but I added more syrup so I would not have to make another trip during the week. I’m hopeful that I can remove the feeder completely next week as the girls should now have enough numbers and nectar flow available to take care of themselves.
The 2nd super had a goodly amount of foundation drawn out with some capped brood in the middle frames. I’ve come to the conclusion that I added the 2nd super a week too early, but I don’t think that is going to matter in the long run. I’ll need to be a bit more patient and wait for the 2nd super to have at least 6 frames with capped brood and honey before adding the 3rd.
The 1st super was mostly filled with capped brood and honey with the exception of the outer most frames. However, there was evidence the bees were starting to draw out foundation on those as well so that is a good sign.
I was wondering if I was going to catch a glimpse of Large Marge and sure enough I spotted her on frame 5 on the original super. She tried to tell me a story of the worst accident she has ever seen, but I told her to get back to work laying eggs. Even though there is plenty of evidence she is laying well, it is always nice to see your queen.
I unfortunately did see 5 hive beetles, but they were all in the top hive feeder, and I got a lot of satisfaction squishing them dead. I did not see any evidence of them in the 2 brood supers, so that makes me feel better that the bees are driving them up away from the combs. The beetle trap is on its way, and this evening when it cools off a bit, I’m going to spray beneficial nematodes around the hive.
Below is a slide show of yours truly inspecting the frames. The frame that is completely vertical shows a really nice frame filled with capped brood in a tight pattern with honey on the upper corners.
A friend told me about this British company that makes a line of chicken coops as well as beehives. They also have a branch in the U.S. I have no idea if these hives are any good, but they look interesting. The company is called Omlet and their line of hives is called the Beehaus.