The past two nights and tonight included we have had several windows open and turned off the heat. We hear the American Toads calling most of the night, it is my favorite time of year, the frog and toad concerts. Also been hearing Pickerel Frogs calling once in a while, I had a photo of one in my last posting. Eastern Painted Turtles are now lining the edge of the pond, have been for weeks.
OK, now for today's excitement. It was a hot day reached 85 degrees here and was sunny until we were ready to split a nuk from the beehive at 6pm. Around 5:30 the clouds gathered and spilled a few drops and finished by 6pm. For those of you that do not know what a nuk is I'll explain. A nuk is a small beehive about half a normal hive, this one is 5 frames wide, my main hive is 10 frames wide. The reason for the nuk is three fold, one it creates another hive and breaks the varroa mite cycle, two it frees up the main hive to prevent swarming and three the main hive still is very full of bees and hopefully will have extra honey by May or so.
This nuk is queenless, we found my queen and left her in the main hive. So now the nuk has 2 frames of honey, one frame of pollen and 2 frames of larva and we hope eggs. The light was fading and the frames we used should have had eggs but we could not see them. So now it is up to the bees to rear some eggs into new queens and in 16 days she'll emerge and about 10 days later she'll fly out and find a group of drones and mate with them and start laying. So then after 3 1/2 weeks I look for eggs. In the mean time the mites have no new larva in which to lay eggs on, hopefully breaking their cycle a bit.
The main hive had likely 50% more brood than I have ever seen in it, looking pretty good. We did see four bees with deformed wing virus, a result of the varroa mites. Four is a small percentage of 10s of thousands of bees. A few beetles were seen maybe 6-8 not too bad, none would be better but what can you do. Pollen stores were very impressive, my girls have been working real hard.
Last item about bees. I picked up some scrap plywood at the clean wood pile at the landfill last week. Then made 3 swarm boxes out of the plywood. Purchased some bee lures and in case any local bees swarm they might just more into my swarm boxes. I'll show you some photos soon, been to busy to think about the camera.
Sorry I was not able to do bloom day this time. We have a fair number of daffodils blooming in the garden and two new double hellebores, that I purchased unbloomed last year from Pine Knot. One is pure white with lots of pointed petals, the other is a deep red, stunning color yet a semi double. The bleeding hearts just popped out of the ground in the past day, I was a bout to give up on it. Primroses 4 new ones from last year have survived and are blooming, my decade old primrose has no blooms yet. Peonies are a foot tall already! We moved about 8 Trout Lilies and a Christmas Fern from our wooded slope into the hellebore garden on Sunday.
Here is my new favorite daffodil 'Delibe' they are blooming in several spots in the garden. The center of the cup is yellow, so beautiful.