April and May are swarm season in Albuquerque, New Mexico. If you happen to encounter a swarm in your yard or neighborhood, please give a quick call to local beekeepers who can come pick up the wayward girls.
Fellow Albuquerque beeks, our first meeting of the season is tomorrow! Get details and RSVP.
At least in Albuquerque, the docile European honeybee hasn’t totally edged out our natives. The prickly pear cactus in my yard has just started blooming which attracts bees from the genus Diadasia, also known as cactus bees.
These kids are spazzy — like my niece Nina after those twinkies Mimi insists on feeding her — they duck and dive and roll. With the kind of lust possible only after desert-induced deprivation, cactus bees fling themselves into a flower and cover their entire bodies with pollen.
Utter abandoned bliss.
If chocolate suddenly disappeared from shelves in North America, you’d find me with the frenzy of a cactus bee, bathing in Scharffen Berger the minute I tracked down a source.
Here’s another lesson from the Albuquerque bee man, TJ, and his rooftop hives.
Comb filled with tight even worker brood like this is pure eye candy for the beekeeper opening her hives in Spring. Lots of worker brood means a strong workforce able to harvest spring nectar.
At my place in the city of Albuquerque, the girls will find nectar from a variety of trees such as apricot, elm, honey locust, and a variety of other flowering fruit trees maintained by urban gardeners. Thought, this year, my girls arrived late (I just received my package a couple of days ago) TJ’s bees have been hard at work for over a month. In fact, when I snapped the photo shown above, his girls were already bringing in honey and the gray pollen characteristic of elm trees. It’s the start of a rockin’ year for the hive.