This is a picture of some of my peach blooms yesterday afternoon...
Can you see them underneath the snow?
My main garden looks pretty sad too, though everything is doing well.
I have had lots of time to get caught up on my reading this week. We've had snow, rain, and cold winds. I didn't have an opportunity to get much done outside for my garden, but I did manage to get my second hive installed today and I re-queened my first hive with a Carniolan queen. From what I have read, the Carniolans are much more winter hearty than the Italians I already have. Given the snowfall we keep getting... it can't hurt.
Less than a week ago, there were no queen cells in my hive, and no new brood. Everything flying around was young and new, but nothing cooking inside those cells... Today, to my surprise, three frames were FULL of new brood and there were five new Italian queen cells, so either my eyes are REALLY bad or she's there...
In desperation, I looked for her again to no avail then I decided that instead of adding the new queen, I would split the hive. I gave half of the bees and new frames to the new Carniolan queen and half to the queen cells. Maybe I'll get lucky and get three hives in the end... It's worth a shot.
I have been trying to detox the Italians because the home they came from was full of IPM chemical controls for mites. They came to me from almond orchards in the valley. I am pretty sure that they've been exposed to lots of toxins in those almond fields.
I am happy to report that one of my experiments seems to be working. Not wanting to treat with chemicals if at all possible, I have been dusting them with powdered sugar every seven days to encourage them to groom and remove varroa mites. The first time I did this, there were lots of dead mites under my screened pest management board. I have been doing this for three weeks now and today I looked hard at the bees and could only see 3 mites among thousands of bees. The numbers have dropped dramatically in the IPM board capture too, and I'll dust one more time before summer. The Carniolans are my second IPM strategy. They are very hygienic and groom themselves regularly. That appears to be a great start for varroa control, so far. Fingers crossed.
What have you been up to in your garden this week???