The hives "Buzzing" with excitement over the Red Maple Blossoms. Click the photograph for a larger image.
The Red Maple is a native tree to Cape Cod. It is also one of the earliest blooming trees. Unlike its cousin the Sugar Maple, the Red Maple cannot be used to make Maple Syrup, but the bees are gathering the nectar from its blooms to make honey to feed the young they are currently rearing inside the hive. Last year (2006) the Red Maple began blooming around April 10th, almost two weeks earlier than this year (2007). Likewise the yellow Forsythia, which have not begun to bloom this year, were blooming on April 11 of 2006.
It looks like spring has begun a little later this year than last. I guess Phil the Groundhog was wrong, or maybe he just lied, when he said he did not see his shadow in February.
One of my bees working the Red Maple Blossoms. The trees were filled with buzzing.
I was nice to have warm weather and work in the yard. I briefly peeked into the hives to make sure they were taking sugar syrup from the hive top feeders. I have one weak hive I have been watching closely since March. The queen was introduced to the hive in the Summer of 2006, and produced well into the fall, but for some reason their numbers dropped off rapidly in February. They are down to about 2 frames of bees. I replaced the hive top feeder with a bucket feeder placed directly over the brood area of the colony. Since they had recent signs of dysentery I added some Fumagilin-B medication to the sugar syrup. As a rule I do not medicate the bees in the spring, but since all my hives had signs of dysentery this winter, and with a new (and more severe) form of Nosema being discovered in bees this year, I may end up adding medication to all the hives this spring.
This weeks predicted warm weather should help the bees increase their numbers.