I took a look at the ladies today, and all looks well. From the picture you can tell that there was lots of sugar left (the brown in the sugar is pollen I added). They were slowly feeding off the existing sugar, and as I added in more pollen mix, a few took flight to see what all the fuss was about. They now have enough food to last them for about a month – mid April – which is when I will start to expand the hive to meet their growing demand for more room. It may not seem like it at 34F outside, but they are busy in their hive, rearing young and getting ready for Spring. Since I expect them to be expanding their population over the next 30 days at an exponential rate, giving them more room in the hive will help with this growth, and hopefully prevent them from swarming.
Swarms are bittersweet. While beekeepers don’t like a colony to swarm because it splits the colony in half, and thus it’s weaker, it’s also the sign of a very healthy colony to being with. Simple put, weak colonies just don’t have the energy to swarm any more than you want to leave the house when you’re sick. When a swarm occurs, half the colony has left to form a new colony in the neighborhood, and help spread the genetics that helped the original colony survive.
Beekeeping is such a wait and see hobby…
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