I am convinced that Spring is on the way. The two plus feet of new fallen snow is not what convinced me either:) It’s not even that the days are getting longer. We just ordered our bee packages for pick up sometime near the end of April. The job of deciding on what type of bees we wanted this year again rested on Marisa’s shoulders. She is the one who started this bee keeping hobby for us and since she studied it the most, we rely on her good judgement to make a well thought out decision. It’s probably alot to rely on one so young at the age of 17 but Fred encourages all of the children to start something they enjoy.
This spring we will have (8) 3 pound packages of Italian bees and (8) 3 pound packages of Minnesota Hygienic. These will be added to our other Italian bees. Each of the packages were ordered and paid for at Nature’s Nectar in Stillwater, MN. The reason we switched to this seller is because we have to drive to pick them up and it is at least 2 hours closer! The supplier on that end gets the bees from the same place as Mann Lake Ltd though, who also has good healthy bees. Each of the packages cost $79.00 per package plus $5.00 per package deposit on the bee boxes. The money will be refunded next year when we pick up packages again or when we get in that area again.
The Italian bees did so well this year that we wanted to add more of them. It is a very popular breed and is very hearty, docile and a great honey producer. They are good comb producers and the large brood that they produce makes for fast colony growth. The maintain a large winter colony which requires large stores of food. They winter well in cold climates and have some good disease tolerance.
The Minnesota Hygienic bees she chose mainly because of their disease resistance. They detect disease or mite infested brood and quickly remove them from the hive. They also withstand the Minnesota cold winters. If anyone is interested in this particular breed you can do some research online before deciding to try them. We will report here how they do later on in the season.
The bees are still alive and we think they are running a bit low on honey. Next year we are going to leave them even more honey because our winters are so long and frigid. We hope they can hold out until the weather warms up. One thing about bees, as with farm livestock, you never stop learning and that makes it an interesting challenge.