Monday, May 6, 2013
Wild Mustard in Bloom
The wild mustard has really been taking off this year. As I mentioned I closed off the front couple of acres of the pasture in preparation for plowing it up and re-seeding it along with planting some fruit trees in one section and re-fencing the entire thing this Summer. Well like all the farmers around me there has been no way to get any field work accomplished with the rain and like all their fields the wild mustard has been growing unchecked in the open areas.
Usually by this time the wild mustard has been plowed under and the bees must go to the smaller patches of the stuff in the livestock pastures or focus on other plants. Indeed the hives I have in the woods are hitting the choke cherry very hard right now but those out in the open are working the wild mustard patches like crazy. At least they are when they can get out and do so. The girls have not really been able to get out much since last Wednesday until today when we finally saw the sun and warmer temperatures once again.
They are trying as best they can to build up but so far this Spring I would estimate they have actually managed to forage maybe 50% or less of the actual days. More often than not the cold temps and rain have kept them locked up inside the hive.
I have yet to see anything I could interpret as pre-swarming activity. No swarm cells inside any of the hives I can find and only a very limited amount of scout bee activity at any of the swarm traps a couple of weeks ago. I imagine most of the feral hives out there died out this Winter and what few swarms maybe forming have a number of abandoned and previously used hive areas to choose from. Some may very well still have honey inside which would make my swarm traps much less inviting.
This maybe a very slow build up year although the weather people are now saying we have come to the end of the frost and freeze warning for the year.
I'll believe it when I see it.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!