Colorado Front Range - February, 2016 - Off to a roaring start - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Louisville, Colorado, USA
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    Default Re: Colorado Front Range - February, 2016 - Off to a roaring start

    18 inches on my back porch.
    Just got in from helping one neighbor dig out and building a snow fort for one other neighbor's kid. I'm soaked.

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  3. #22
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    Castle Rock, Colorado, USA
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    Default Re: Colorado Front Range - February, 2016 - Off to a roaring start

    It's done here. Looks like 12-14" of light and fluffy. I'm not going out to check. It's too toasty in the shop.
    After 40 years of beekeeping, I've come to realize that the bees can fix most of my mistakes.

  4. #23
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    Default Re: Colorado Front Range - February, 2016 - Off to a roaring start

    18F at my house this morning.

    I'll be checking the landing boards as soon as it warms up for dead larvae to see whether the cold snap affected brood rearing.
    --shinbone
    (1975-1980, and now since 2011; maintain about 10 hives; Zone 5b; 15" rain; 5500')

  5. #24
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    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Default Re: Colorado Front Range - February, 2016 - Off to a roaring start

    My girls are still wrapped in R-10 so they don't worry about thermal shock.

    Steve

  6. #25
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    Rulison, Colorado, USA
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    Default Re: Colorado Front Range - February, 2016 - Off to a roaring start

    Sunny and somewhat warm on the western slope. No snow in the valley, ~6" to 8" of snow at ~8000 feet.

    I hope you all are doing well over there?

  7. #26
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    Default Re: Colorado Front Range - February, 2016 - Off to a roaring start

    It's sad to see all that beautiful white snow, speckled with thousands of little poop stains. Mine all made it - just another passing spring storm.
    After 40 years of beekeeping, I've come to realize that the bees can fix most of my mistakes.

  8. #27
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    Default Re: Colorado Front Range - February, 2016 - Off to a roaring start

    An iphone video of the entrance to one or my busier hives this afternoon:

    --shinbone
    (1975-1980, and now since 2011; maintain about 10 hives; Zone 5b; 15" rain; 5500')

  9. #28
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    Default Re: Colorado Front Range - February, 2016 - Off to a roaring start

    Awesome, shinbone!

    My hives are doing the same.
    This year I am going to split them using screen boards and I am getting antsy. Ideally, I want to see queen cells before I split them, but I worry we'll get a spell of bad weather and the bees will be hanging from my apple tree the first warm day after.
    Gotta be patient and wait for fruit bloom....

    You have a lot of drones? My hives are cranking up the drone production. It seems pretty early.

    Anyway.... good looking hives.

  10. #29
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    Default Re: Colorado Front Range - February, 2016 - Off to a roaring start

    Arnie - Thanks, and yes, I am seeing lots of drones. Swarm cells are not too far off for those hives so inclined.

    Colorado's spring weather is always unstable, making successful queen mating a gamble. If you want to do early splits, you might consider purchasing your queens from a commercial queen supplier, that way you can be assured of getting well mated queens.
    --shinbone
    (1975-1980, and now since 2011; maintain about 10 hives; Zone 5b; 15" rain; 5500')

  11. #30
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    Default Re: Colorado Front Range - February, 2016 - Off to a roaring start

    Yea, the weather is crazy here sometimes.
    Last year we had that beautiful warm April and one hive went gangbusters into swarm mode, so we split them....... and, of course, immediately got 3 weeks of cold rainy weather. Somehow the queen got herself mated and we got a nice free hive out of it.

    We'll see. I'm thinking in a couple weeks maybe the timing will be OK.

  12. #31
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    Default Re: Colorado Front Range - February, 2016 - Off to a roaring start

    Peak swarm season used to be the first week of May. It now appears to be a week or two earlier. I haven't seen any drones yet, but the hives are really starting to ramp up. One lone crocus has bloomed - no dandelions yet.
    After 40 years of beekeeping, I've come to realize that the bees can fix most of my mistakes.

  13. #32
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    Pueblo, Colorado, USA
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    Default Re: Colorado Front Range - February, 2016 - Off to a roaring start

    Quote Originally Posted by Arnie View Post
    Last year we had that beautiful warm April and one hive went gangbusters into swarm mode, so we split them....... and, of course, immediately got 3 weeks of cold rainy weather
    haha I had completely forgot about that. I split and most of the virgin queens didnt get mated due to all the rain. It was a bit of a mess lol The splits I did a week before all got mated. All my hives currently have at least 6 frames of brood, lots of drone brood, some drones. I have a feeling this year is going to be worse than last year for swarming. Think i might make up a nuc and do an Old Timer on the spot queen rearing exercise just for a bit of insurance.

    edit: I missed your post Colo and you are correct sir. I should have started queens last week but I can roll with it. Splits are definitely in my immediate future.
    Zone 5 @ 4700 ft. High Desert

  14. #33
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    Default Re: Colorado Front Range - February, 2016 - Off to a roaring start

    What's your timeline on that rwurster? I'm thinking as soon as I see fruit bloom I'm splitting. Dandelions are getting going now here.

  15. #34
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    Default Re: Colorado Front Range - February, 2016 - Off to a roaring start

    Theres lots of stuff blooming, pear trees for the past 2 weeks, crab apples, dandilions, i forget the name of the stinky weeds on ditch banks, some junipers are ready to bloom. I want to have stong hives for when the black locusts pop but I don't know, and think there's going to be swarming issues early again this year so I'll do thorough inspections today and start some queens sometime this week then splits in 10 or 11 days after queens get started. I'll shoot for the 16th or 17th. I want to hold off but I have some rebuilding to do this season.
    Zone 5 @ 4700 ft. High Desert

  16. #35
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    Default Re: Colorado Front Range - February, 2016 - Off to a roaring start

    As to blooming, my neighbor reports his pear trees are well into their bloom and are covered with bees. For myself, my Macintosh apple tree is just starting to open its blossoms, but my Crabapples are about 7 days before bloom. Dandelions look to be 7 - 10 days out, but I never see much bee activity on them, anyway. Based on the fruit trees, I'd say our primary Spring flow in my area should be in full swing in just a handful of days.

    When inspecting one hive in particular yesterday, I saw larges patches of capped drone cells. I took the opportunity to "fork-out" a section of comb with the drone larvae using my cappings scratcher carried during hive inspections for just that purpose. I pulled and examined about 30 drone larvae total in that one hive and did not see a single mite. This I attribute to a "one-shot" OAV treatment done in mid-November when my hives are typically broodless. I had a bucket of MAQS strips on hand intending to do a Spring mite treatment, but the mite numbers are so low I didn't bother. These minimal mite numbers (obviously, the hives still have mites, just very low numbers of them) I think are contributing to the explosive Spring growth I am seeing.

    I should add that most of my hives have put on about 1 medium super of honey, so far.








    .
    Last edited by shinbone; 04-04-2016 at 10:04 AM.
    --shinbone
    (1975-1980, and now since 2011; maintain about 10 hives; Zone 5b; 15" rain; 5500')

  17. #36
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    Default Re: Colorado Front Range - February, 2016 - Off to a roaring start

    you guys are ahead of me.
    I'm going to take a look today. The bees are not on the water as much the last two days, and they are flying with real purpose looking like they are getting nectar somewhere. So I'll check them to see if they need room. The fun is about to begin!

  18. #37
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    Default Re: Colorado Front Range - February, 2016 - Off to a roaring start

    More entrance videos, these from today. As can be hopefully seen (I wish my iphone video had better resolution), there are many foragers coming in, but few have pollen. I guess these pollen-less foragers have nectar?

    Crab apples started blooming a few days ago, but there are some that haven't opened yet, meaning the peak is still a few days away. Some dandelion blooms can be seen, too. Chokecherry are at the end of their bloom cycle.

















    .
    Last edited by shinbone; 04-10-2016 at 03:30 PM.
    --shinbone
    (1975-1980, and now since 2011; maintain about 10 hives; Zone 5b; 15" rain; 5500')

  19. #38
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    Castle Rock, Colorado, USA
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    Default Re: Colorado Front Range - February, 2016 - Off to a roaring start

    I'm a bit jealous - I have one lone crocus that has bloomed. The apple trees are just starting to poke out some visible beginnings of blooms (crimson red). Green dandelion foliage but not a bloom in sight.

    I suspect we, along the front range, may benefit from a very dry week in the middle of July when it comes to mites "The air is driest around July 9, at which time the relative humidity drops below 27% (dry) three days out of four..."

    One report notes that mites are incapable of reproducing at high humidities and I suspect that low humidity may have the same effect. "In one study (Kraus and Velthuis, 1997) at 59-68% relative humidity, 53% of mites produced offspring, whereas at 79-85% relative humidity only 2% of the mites produced offspring. Zachary goes on to explain that, he too, has had experience with this phenomenon in his lab."

    Our driest air of the year, right when mites are trying to ramp up. I too, have to look long and hard to find mites. This is one of the best explanations I've come up with.
    After 40 years of beekeeping, I've come to realize that the bees can fix most of my mistakes.

  20. #39
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    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Default Re: Colorado Front Range - February, 2016 - Off to a roaring start

    Colobee,

    I have a slight edge on you with the crocuses with quite a few in bloom, but none of my fruit trees (Apples, pears, peaches and cherries) are close yet, except for the cutting that my wife brought into the house and "forced" so that we could enjoy the blossoms. Late frost over the last 2-3 years have taken all of my fruit blossoms so my girls missed out on the nectar and we missed out on the fruit crop. Fingers crossed for no late frosts this year but my colonies are still packed in R-10 foam. Colobee, I'm just below 7 K feet but you are somewhere just below 7,354 ft.

    Steve

  21. #40
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    Default Re: Colorado Front Range - February, 2016 - Off to a roaring start

    My GPS reads ~6400'. I found a handful of Dandelions that popped today, and a few more Crocus. Some kind of rose thicket too. The Tulips, Hyacinth & Lilies are bursting up. The Crab Apple is about to pop. I hear you on the fruit blossom freezes. We average a crop every third year. We got our first rain showers (as opposed to snow) this weekend.
    After 40 years of beekeeping, I've come to realize that the bees can fix most of my mistakes.

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