I was a bit worried that the dandelions might divert the bees from pollinating all the berry bushes but I think they like some variety in their diet because I did spot a few on the gooseberry bushes which are now flowering: The blackcurrants should start flowering within a few days too.
Dandelions are an important part of the bees diet providing amino acids needed for healthy hives. As the dandelions start to bloom there is an audible buzz in the air coming from the fields that are gradually carpeted in yellow.
Last autumn Peter tried his hand at marking one of the queens: his first attempt. Well, he messed up a bit and managed to get green paint on her head as well as her thorax. We were worried she might not survive. Anyway, today we opened up the hive to check things out and add a box. There was plenty of brood and down there he saw the green queen in great shape working hard. What a relief.
The Espoo hives seem to be thriving. The one nearest the stream is packed full of bees with two boxes full of brood. With all the wind and rain we've been having recently, Peter is worried that they won't be able to forage enough food for the hatched youngsters. But over the stream there is a huge amount of food: willow in vast quantities and now dandelions too. This hive is very sticky, with a lot of propolis in between the frames.
We have started adding boxes and frames to the hives and they are all full of fresh brood which is great news.
The foragers are flying home packed with goodies, mostly from willow. There will soon be dandelions too. The Rosendal hive has almost completely devoured the Apifonda.
Peter ploughed some ground near the farmhouse in Rosendal. We will plant tansy there (hunajakukka) for the bees. But today it was too windy to sow the seeds and tomorrow it is going to rain all day. Tansy can produce the biggest honey yields and the flowers smell wonderful.