The delayed warm weather this spring means more than a late start to planting.
Our poor honey bees did not survive the cold long winter months, in contrast to last year when several of the colonies we over-wintered actually flourished and were bringing in pollen as early as March 19th. It was really amazing to see honey bees flying over snow drifts back to the hive boxes carrying golden puffs of pollen in their tiny back leg baskets. Even Lacey the collie seemed surprised when, on our afternoon stroll, she would sniff at a bee flying low over her head.
If we are going to have a honey crop this year we have to purchase new colonies and feed them until there are floral sources enough to sustain them. In this part of North Dakota the major source of nectar is canola. I'm no agricultural expert, but it seems likely that canola is months away from blooming; even with optimum drying and warming conditions, can farmers seed their land much before the end of May? I certainly hope to see fields of bright yellow in July so that we can begin to extract honey before autumn. I love the weekly visits to our bee yard to check on the colonies and watch these incredible creatures do their lifes' work. We are privileged to be a part of their world. We have a duty to be good husbanders of honey bees, for without them the world would be a desolate barren place.