Ready to go.

It’s like somebody threw a switch! Up until just a week ago, we had freezing night time temperatures–and the days were comfortable working temperatures–but a bit on the chill side for garden progress. We didn’t mind; we were planting trees and doing the follow-up care of mulching and watering. I like a cooler day for working.

The last three days have made up for it and summer is coming in like a steamroller. It’s hot and humid. Yet we’re stuck with spring-transition chores that would be more comfortable with a softer transition. Nowhere is it more obvious than with the bees.

We’d left the winter insulating hive-jackets on–because of the freezing nights. And the winter quilt-boxes, because you have to remove the outer insulation to get to them. Suddenly, it’s time to give the hives room to grow and better air-flow. But it’s hot and humid and the bees are crabby!

We introduced a new hive yesterday. In the heat, it was enough just to put them in place in the apiary. We knew they needed an additional super (box) for growth, and a summer attic for ventilation. I thought I’d let them have a day to settle in, before any more disturbance. But today was even warmer and muggier than yesterday. 

My task today was simply to take off the outer cover, add a super and an attic, and replace the outer cover. If it were good weather, and I knew the bees, I’d have been tempted to forego suiting up–beekeeping can be hot and sweaty work, and the extra layers add up. As it was, I just pulled on a jacket and veil–not the full-body suit. It turned out that I was glad for the protection.

This new hive is crowded! I see a split coming in its very near future. In the meantime, they’re nasty in direct proportion to their congestion. For just a couple of simple chores, I had to walk away three times to let them settle down and even then, one tried to sting through my jeans. I could have used a full suit.

The task is done. It gives them some extra space. Hopefully, the next time I visit, they’ll be in a better mood. Every hive has it’s own personality. Some hives are just plain nasty.   Sometimes, if they’re really troublesome, it’s just easier to re-queen a nasty hive. But a “hot” hive can have its advantages. They are often wildly productive in the honey department. They can be worth the extra trouble. I’m hoping they’ll get situated, enjoy the extra room we’ve provided, and chill.

The remaining hives also need tending–they’ve always been mellow bees, so I’m sure it’ll be quick work, in a day or so. We’re expecting a storm tonight, which should cool things down, and restore some of their previous civility. And then, we’ll be caught up, and the work in the bee yard can be done by the bees.