My two hives, Martha and Connie, continue to do well. I have fed them thick syrup again, about 1/2 gallon each, since they knocked off the first half gallon in less than a week.
This whole feeding in March thing is questionable. I fed Martha just because I felt the hive was in jeopardy. Then I fed Connie as well. I wonder if it is a good idea to feed the hives in the late Winter – early Spring?
It has consistently been above 50 degrees F in the daytime here. The bees are waking up and cleaning out the hive. The outlook shows that the temperature will rise above 50 for the next 10 days. Feeding sugar water when the temperature is cold is not good because the bees have trouble evaporating the water to make honey and will be stressed. The humidity has been low and the temperature in the hive is perhaps warm enough so this may not be a problem.
Italian bees will start building up in the early spring if you feed them, and this is my goal. I want the weaker Martha hive to be ready for the spring nectar flow and I want the stronger Connie hive to be productive. I have in the back of my mind to split the Connie hive.
The buds pop here at the end of March. The pussy willows are already popping, and I see skunk cabbage sprouting up. These are early sources of nectar. The bees will be flying about, if it is warm enough, in two or three weeks. I am hoping that that is when the brood emerges so they can take advantage of the early flow.
A good backyard Beekeeper has a few good hives. A bad beekeeper has as many as he can get. I want to have eventually five or six hives and be able to sell a split hive once or twice a year.
I will have two hives from last year, and I think they will produce as much as 100 pounds of honey that I can sell for 4 or 5 dollars a pound. This will go a good ways towards paying for all the wood I’ve bought.
I will have two packages in April. If they do well, they may give me some honey in late summer, but I doubt it.
I might have a split off of Connie that might, or might not have enough honey to harvest in the late summer.
I will be able to sell one of the hives next year, if they all survive the winter. With the wood and the hive I should get maybe $300. This would be about $150 worth of wood and frames and $100 worth of bees, but together in an established hive it would be worth more.
I ordered frames and wood so I would have a small extra hive ready for a split or a swarm capture this spring. There is always hope.