Yard Visit End of July Year 2

Upper entrances on a hot, Wyoming day.
Bees hanging off the upper entrances on a hot and humid Wyoming day.

It remains dry and hot. But a couple of thunderstorms have kept some life in the plants along the roadsides and irrigation ditches.

And mosquito spraying didn’t materialize near town. So, no sprayed bees.

I didn’t move these bees. An offer of an old bee location was made. When I attempted to redeem it, the offer was withdrawn! But they were low on honey. Could I drop a free bucket off!

Keeping bees near Casper has some benefits. The hives thrive on a variety of cultivated plants. That increases the nutrition and duration of available bee forage.

My bees are healthiest when near a town. But they just don’t make as much of a crop compared to bees in an agricultural setting.

Making a large crop isn’t that important to me anymore. But I think there’s still a little bit of that old commercial beekeeping type thinking in my brain. And, in the last few years, I’ve developed a distaste for the continual hassle of finding new locations and moving bees.

The Good News

Drone brood exposed in burr comb between boxes. Not a single varroa mite found.
Drone brood exposed in burr comb between boxes. Not a single varroa mite found.

The swarmed hives have done well since I saw them a month ago.

  • the new queens are healthy
  • brood patterns are compact and solid
  • bee populations are high
  • different nectar and pollen sources are available
  • no signs of mites, disease or pests

These hives, with their new queens, are some of the gentlest hives I’ve ever worked. What a pleasure.

The Bad News

The queen in the hive that didn’t swarm this spring is failing.

  • smaller bee populations
  • less brood
  • scattered patches of brood

There’s still plenty of time for this hive to raise and mate a new queen. I’ll let them sort it out.

Upper Entrances

Skunk decimated cactus is recovering.
Skunk decimated cactus is recovering.

They’re a standard practice for me now. Even a shorter, double deep hive with an upper entrance didn’t attract skunks.

Last year, I tried using cactus as a skunk deterrent. They eventually decimated the cactus to get at the lower entrances.

This year that same cactus is recovering!

And that’s good news. For when the skunks got out of control, my methods were far from natural. And in the worst cases, they were lethal.

Broodnest Organization

I hoped to get some idea of how bees organize their broodnest around an upper entrance. But it still too early to tell.