We have had a very early spring here in NYC. After a mild winter all my hives survived. I lost the nucs that I started in August. One was pretty empty and the other was queenless so I combined them. I have three hives that are already busting at the seams and three hives with extremely small clusters. I gave some capped brood to the weak hives and I am hoping they start to build up faster.
I have a strong group of boys that have been learning about bees all winter. This was our first visit to the hive and excitement was running high. The boys react extremely differently to the bees. One boy is deathly afraid. He was able to sit and watch the entire inspection and seems to feel better about being up close with the bees. Another boy was pulling frames by himself and showing a lot of care and focus with the bees. I think in a few visits he will be able to lead a hive inspection with my direction from the side.
My big hives seem determined to build up and swarm. They are all second year queens. I am considering extracting some of the winter honey with the boys so I have plenty of drawn comb to open the brood nest when the time comes. I am also hoping, if I play my cards right, I will get some swarm queens to use as replacements.