This afternoon took me up to the the first Wallingford Farmer’s Market of 2009. It’s small as farmer’s markets go, probably two dozen booths all told, but all local farmers selling their produce, which is a blessing to have the opportunity to walk to.
While there, I chatted up Karen Bean of Brookfield Farm, a farm with apiary up in the foothills of Mt. Baker. I mentioned the problems I had had with my Italian queen and the steps I’d taken to address them (allowing supercedure, swapping hive positions, swapping some brood frames) and she agreed they were good steps, but also recommended that I take special care to swap over frames that are full of pollen and, if possible place them facing the brood frames, to reduce the amount of work the bees had to do to feed their youngin’s (pollen is fed to the larva as they develop, and is often found packed in close with brood). She suggested I might try pollen patties as well, but that outside my “lazy beeekeeper regime”.
She also absolutely decried Italian bees for this region. Noting they were from southern Italy, where it is considerably warmer, year round, then the Pacific Northwest, she felt they spent too much time eating and not enough time storing. The “ants” to the Italian “grasshoppers” were the Russians (her favs) and the Carnies (my hive). Things are colder up in the foothills of Mt. Baker then in sunny Seattle (heh), but still good advice, from the sounds of it.