Tuesday Morning we arrived at the designated location at 6:30 a.m. to pick up our bees. Why so late? We were really happy to find bees that were overwintered in northern Minnesota. The over wintered bees are ready later than those that come from warmer climates and are often coming from large colonies in bee ghettos pollinating crops like oranges or almonds. The southern and western bees we have gotten recently have been weak, full of parasites, and even queen replacements have died
The bees we picked up on Tuesday look great – an active queen with workers around her, cells of brood, cells of honey. These bees cost more and may not produce honey for us this season. Ken is fine with that if he can have strong, healthy local bees.
Once home Ken suited up, and opened the box
Then he removed frames and checked them – strong queen with attendants, worker bees, brood cells, honey – all good.
He moved frames to the actual hive
Then he closed up that hive, and went to check on one that appeared a few days ago. These bees also look healthy and he closed up the hive where they had taken up residence. Ken thinks they were a swarm from a healthy hive. when a bee colony becomes large enough to split about half the bees swarm and find a new home. If this is the case these also may be bees that over wintered here and are healthy. We shall have to wait and see!