Hello everyone! My husband and I are so glad to find this website, as it is pretty lonely up in the Colorado Rockies. We live in Georgetown, CO- a cold, windy and climate wise harsh town (which I don't know if there ever has been a beehive to grace the town limits). In spite of the climate, we decided to purchase a top bar hive and small 3 pound swarm, mid-summer 2011. Not too smart, but somehow it worked! We took no honey last summer and were lucky that the bees filled the hive with comb and honey. We did feed the bees a little in early Spring, and finally harvested one bar. Still, we are afraid to upset the balance.
So many questions! The bees were unusually noisy and active today. Several were almost bearding the entrance. It is not hot, but warm finally. In the 60-65F range. Bees are coming home with full pollen sacks too, even though we barely have any dandelions, only a few pasque flowers, and the grass is just starting to green up. Should we split the hive already if we find queen cells? Is it better to let them go naturally? Have a second empty top bar waiting for bees, but wanted to make sure out first hive made it though the winter. Planning on inspecting the combs tomorrow if weather permits. Also, if we do split the hive, I'm concerned about genetic diversity as there are no bees around to mate with other than the drones in our hive. Do you think we are better of getting another swarm for the second hive? Our goals are to pollinate our garden, enjoy bees, and maybe get a little honey. We want what is best for bee survival in this terrible climate, so maybe that will help if anyone choses to respond to these varied questions and comments. Thanks in advance! I look forward to browsing much of the discussions here!