When you live on a farm, work changes with the seasons.
Winter is a time of rest, for the soil, animals, and people, but not for bees. They collect together and vibrate to keep the queen and brood warm, but all too often, they don’t survive the cold and damp of winter. Despite my efforts in the fall, my two colonies didn’t endure the harsh short days of winter.
But spring is a time of renewal. All those chores you couldn’t get to because of bad weather now need to be done. The chicks have been moved from the bathroom to a special pen outside. Fences are being mended, and gates fixed. Despite the workload, I love this time of year. Months ago, I ordered a single replacement bee colony and it arrived, along with dozens of others, at a nearby apiary this morning.
On this warm and sunny day in April, one of the chores that must be done is hiving the bees. These little workers will soon pollinate our orchard trees, garden, and flowers.
We let them keep all the honey they produce during the first year. If they survive until next fall they’ll have made enough for us to harvest gallons of honey.
But, that’s a chore for another season.