Always Check The Forecast

Obvious. OBVIOUS. However.

While I am generally an excellent planner, I seem to have forgotten a very basic thing: bees aren’t just beholden to my, and their own, schedules. There’s the bloom, of course, and the weather.

I woke up this morning to the sound’s of last night’s rainstorm still going on, and immediately grabbed my phone to check the forecast for today. The forecast, in fact, for the next few days:

weather

Now, that’s showing yesterday, today, Wednesday, and Thursday, and looking at the full spread now I’m feeling a little more confident, considering yesterday wasn’t all that rainy midday.

But I’m also kind of beating myself up, because it wasn’t rainy midday, when I refilled the feeders. Despite the time it was taking at my lunch hour, I could have checked on the queens and cleared out the transit boxes and put in the rest of the frames yesterday. BeeWeaver recommends giving the colony 2-3 days before checking on the queens– I could have taken care of it all yesterday.

Bees keep their hives at a steady 95 degrees, rain or shine, summer or winter, through a process of air-cooling using water, and air-warming using kinetic energy (aka flapping their wings). Errant water in a hive can spoil the honey, and even though my honey is currently non-existent I’m not going to open my hives on a 65 degree rainy day.

Because I’m going out of town from Wednesday afternoon through Sunday night, my options at this point are to hope that the weather clears enough by lunch for me to do my work; hope the weather clears enough by lunch tomorrow that I can do my work; or hope that everything will keep for the next six days.

Worst case scenario shouldn’t be all that bad, honestly– I’m mostly concerned about the Silver hive, and the issues I had removing the whole cork from the queen candy. I only left a few pieces in there, no more than half, so hopefully even if I have to leave them another week they’ll have worked through the candy and moved out the cork.

If they haven’t managed that, queen candy is composed of honey and sugar, so the queen herself will be fed, in addition to the fact that she has access to bees for her grooming through the mesh of the cage. The drawback is that the hive will be a whole week behind on egg-laying, which may have a drastic effect on the success of the colony.

Beyond the queen situation, I’m kind of miffed at myself about the transit boxes. I know I have some crushed bees under there, since I couldn’t sweep them all out of the way when I was settling the boxes in– boxes which had hundreds more bees, so no major loss. But I hate the fact that my bees will have an untidy house due to my inability to check the stinkin’ weather. And if they manage to start building comb or shove some propolis up there to seal the area, it’ll be that much more difficult to deal with in a week’s time.

Lesson learned, though. These bees are going to keep me more in tune with the weather than my bum knee.

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