What’s blooming today is taking a back seat to the copious amounts of wind and rain we’ve been receiving this week, as evidenced by the runoff-filled pasture below one of my hives. Flowering plum, Indian plum, flowering quince, daffodils, dandelions and even a few early salmonberries are ready to provide nectar in my neighborhood, with willows in full bloom for pollen. It’s all a little moot, though, as the weather’s far too nasty for honey bees to take advantage of it. The few sun breaks proved too cool for honey bee flight, though the bumblebees were out and about between showers. Two weeks of inclement weather make me a little worried about dwindling stores in my hives. As the season advances and brood rearing kicks into high gear, my more rambunctious bees, the ones that tend toward Italian-style build-up, will need careful monitoring for adequate stores. More conservative colonies, the ones with a little more Carniolan or Russian heritage, may be just fine. But it’s hard to tell from the kitchen window.
While it is frustrating to me that I can’t figure out how to juggle a hive tool and an umbrella with enough skill to do routine checks, I am relieved that we are experiencing more normal “Oregon spring” conditions. The last two warm, sunny springs brought their own concerns for drought and dearth in the later season. Hopefully all this rain will result in an abundant nectar flow come June.
I guess I will be patient, hunker down, and wait it out with my bees.