Hi all! I just want to say thanks to a couple of members who've given me help in the chatroom. I'm pretty new at this, this being my second year. I still feel like I am fairly clueless. But I've gotten a lot of patient and helpful advice and encouragement from hankdog1 and jack. I sure thank you guys!
I live in southeastern Iowa. I had 3 hives going into a long and bitter winter. I did not want the bees to freeze, so I duct taped styrofoam to the outsides of their hives and mounded snow up on them. Turns out, that might have been overkill, (not to mention it looked pretty hokey), but somehow, they survived. I checked them after each really cold spell. I did not want to risk killing them by opening hives when it was bitter out to do a physical check. So I listened with my stethescope from outside. They hummed softly all winter.
The first really nice day after winter I was delighted to pull into the drive and discover bees! Thousands of them! All three hives had made it through the winter. One did particularly well. So well, I was getting concerned about swarming, but had no idea what to do to prevent it. I bought several books, read a great deal, did a lot of online reading and found this site, (and I am thankful)!
So now i have done the "walkaway split" to the one hive that came out of winter massive. If this should happen to work, I will now have 4 hives that I don't know what to do with...except steal from...
I am trying not to use chemicals if I can find any way around it. This week I will do a "sugar roll" to see how bad an infestation the little darlings may have of varroa mites. I look forward to pulling fresh honey off them. In the meantime, I was just wondering how often can I disturb them without causing them to move out on me? (Will they do that?)
Thanks for your time, everyone!