I made a quick mix of homemade pollen patties and in preparation for a warm day last week made a block of bee-candy. The sun was bright and wind was fairly calm, the bees made an appearance so I decided to risk a peek. I quickly opened all the hives and its official. Five hives are alive and 7 are dead. That is 60% loss for me this year. I put in a small pollen patty and added bee-candy where I could. I guess I got away easy last year so this makes up for it. I am getting 3 Russian packages with marked queens shipped and I am also getting 2 local NUCs from a guy near Utica. A little worried about getting bees shipped as not very confident that the USPS will get theme here in 2 days. I ordered early as an insurance policy. The packages will be here late May so if I can get them established I could get honey off the packages but it would be more work to build them up for winter. I paid $3 extra for marked queens as thought it would be fun for showing folks a working hive.
Worked another extraction this weekend for a local building management company and every time I am on one I learn to be a bit more efficient and wanted to share my list. If there is the opportunity to make a small hole first when starting and extraction this is ideal. So the trick is to annoy the aggressive bees and get them out a small hole and grab them with the vacuum right away. This time around I broke through the drywall with a small hole and kept banging on the ceiling to annoy them. I then opened a hole about 6 inches square. This really helped as the aggressive bees rushed the opening and right into the vacuum. I did get stung on the finger once but was when lifting out some comb and I pinned the bee between my finger and some comb.