Did you know that a few good flowering trees can produce more honey than a few acres of flower gardens? It's true. But don't let that stop you from planting flowers, because they help too and often start blooming after the trees have finished.
Trees are generally the first plants to begin flowering and producing pollen desirable to the bees. Some of the important flowering Arkansas trees that bees love include Redbud, Wild Cherry, Honey Locust, and Sourwood. Basswood is another favorite. From just a few of these trees, the bees can get an early start at producing many gallons of honey as they come out of winter and prepare for the long hot summer. We are blessed to have some of each of these trees here on our property and look forward to the wonderful honey flavors that will come from them.
Right now the Redbuds are in full bloom with the Cherries just getting ready to pop. The Honey Locust will come next in April/May followed by the the Sourwood and Basswood.
We received our bees in good shape from Mountain Sweet Honey on Wednesday morning (3/28). It rained almost continuously until Thursday morning. I was finally able to home them around 10 am when the rain finally stopped. It was about 65 F and the bees were well behaved. Though the sun began warming them up, I didn't need to smoke them to keep them calm. By the end of the day, they were happily buzzing in and out of their new homes.
The first container I opened and homed had maybe 30 - 50 dead bees, but in general, the rest were active and healthy looking. I attribute the dead bees to shipping trauma. The queen and attendants were all active and in good shape. I removed the cork from the queen box so the workers could release her into the nest. This morning (3/30) when I checked the hive, it was still cool enough that the bees were not coming out yet. The majority of the bees were in the lower brood box. All appeared good and all the bees that didn't initially come out of the shipping container had vacated to their new home.
The second container had about 100+ dead bees in the bottom. The queen and attendants were in good shape, but a little sluggish compared to the first container. There was one dead attendant in the queen box. I'll be checking on them in a few days. When I checked the hive this morning, about 75% of the bees were in the lower brood box and about 25% in the upper. There are also about 50 live bees still in the shipping container that haven't yet vacated.
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