My hives have survived another winter, well some of them. Yes, it was one of those winters. The kind that makes you question why you are still a beekeeper. Even though it was one of the most mild winters on record my hive loss surpassed the dreaded fifty percent mark. I thought I had done all the right things last season, good honey crop, got the mite treatments on at the right time, extra feeding for the light hives throughout the fall, but by November cluster sizes were crap.
January was a lousy month. When I unwrapped the hives in preparation to send them to California I discovered over one hundred and thirty dead hives. After dozens of phone calls and finding most local beekeepers having had similar problems I ended up sending only two-thirds of a semi-load. Half of those were in poor shape and ended up getting discounted.
Now that the worst is over I can finish my venting and continue in a more positive light.
So now its April and the local fruit orchards bloomed three weeks early. Luckily I only had ten percent of my hives die while vacationing in the almond groves in California. The remaining hives made a remarkable recovery and look really good. I made fifty splits twelve days ago and sixty package hives will be arriving Saturday. I’ll make another round of splits at the end of the month and again in late May. This should bring my numbers close to where they were last summer.
Like every year I hope and pray for enough rain to help bring about a good honey crop. Utah is heading into their forth consecutive drought year. I’m already making plans to place extra hives in the areas that do better on dry years. I hope it pans out.