The Good

The Zia queens are in, released and have been checked. All made it except for two. One of these queens was rejected outright and that single built queen cells.

The other queen I’m not sure about. Couldn’t find a marked Zia queen or a spurious virgin or any eggs. Yet, queen cells placed in this single were mostly destroyed. I suspect a spurious virgin is in there somewhere.

I’ve placed  Koehnen queens in these singles and will release them manually.

It’s not a bad take for the Zia queens.

And the buzz in this yard is definitely much quieter. It’s surprising how fast the chemistry of a new queen, from calmer stock, changes the temperament of a hive. Buzzy bees become more calm long before they are replaced by the next generation of bees from the new queen. I’ve seen this effect occur in less than a week. And it’s pronounced with African and Russian bees.

Today, not a single follower. No smoke was needed. And I could have worked this yard without a veil or gloves even though a skunk has been working this yard as well. That’s a first in a long time. It was a pleasant experience.

The Bad

There’s another buzz that’s missing this year. And that’s the buzz of the honeybee, bumble bees and other wild solitary bees on area forage. My wife and I have been looking for bees since April and have yet to see a single bee on any of the hundreds of acres of spring forage.

I saw a fly on the dandelions, but not a single bee. No bees in the lilacs or caragana. I did see two bumble bees in an apple tree and that was it. One bumble bee and one solitary bee in the hundreds of acres of yellow sweet clover spread over a dozen miles. And nothing more.

Normally, these plants are covered with various bees. But not this year.

It’s the first time I’ve seen anything like this here. I’ve seen it in other places decades ago. But never here. And it’s an ominous sign. I can understand how beekeepers can spread disease/pests. But an absence of all wild pollinators as well, is disturbing.