Saturday, March 22, 2014
About 1 month before the nectar flow, this 70 degree day couldn’t have been more timely. The bees are waking up, eating like crazy, building out comb, and hopefully will be growing in leaps and bounds. This is the time to take action by doing a thorough inspection, giving them lots of space to grow, and making sure they have the right food to boost them into production mode.
My goals were:
- Inspect to see where the bees are located and switch them to the bottom so they can move up the hive.
- Look for brood and determine whether the queen is in good shape.
- Clean out the old candy and refill their 1:1 sugar syrup and pollen patties.
- Remove mouse guards and clean bottom boards.
- Add a box of new frames so they can build out and grow.
- Pull capped sugar syrup frames for extraction
Both Green Hive 1 (GH1) and Blue Hive 3 (BH3) are doing well. The bees were all over the boxes, not just in one place. Bees tend to move up the hive, so by shifting the busiest boxes down to the bottom, the bees feel there’s more space to expand and grow above, which can help prevent swarming in the spring. Overwintered bees are much more likely to swarm than first year bees, so space is important.
Blue Hive bees were at the top and building comb ladders to get through the inner cover. At two boxes, they needed space bad. I inspected for brood and found one frame with a nice centered, circular brood pattern. I hope that’s the beginning of more to come. I also saw the queen. Big red dot, no doubt, she’s still alive and active. I cleaned their bottom board. Surprisingly, not many dead bees. They did a good job of cleaning themselves. I switched the two boxes, cleared out all of the old candy, added a box of fresh new frames, and gave them a gallon of 1:1 sugar syrup, leaving their pollen patty in place.
Green Hive had 4 boxes and the bees preferred to reside closer to the bottom of the hive. They had too much room. I pulled a top box filled with sugar syrup for extracting. I didn’t find any brood and I didn’t see a queen, but the bees seemed plentiful and healthy. I cleaned the bottom board – more bees in this one, maybe 2 cups, normal. I shifted busy boxes to the bottom, topped with fresh new frames, cleared the old candy, and gave them a gallon of 1:1 sugar syrup, leaving their pollen patty in place.
Neither hive seemed to be eating the pollen patties. They had plenty of capped sugar syrup, and the pollen intake was strong last year, so they’re probably getting plenty of pollen from the comb.
They also were not stingy. Not that they weren’t evidently upset at times, but for the most part they were calm. I didn’t use any smoke and I didn’t get stung once.
We’re waiting for our package to arrive for yellow hive. I have to prepare the box for the new colony which is expected in early April.
Honey and Wax
I still have quite a bit of capped sugar syrup that I’ve been storing on the hives. I pulled those and plan to extract this weekend. I’m recycling some old dark comb and saving the wax. As soon as styrofoam coolers come back in the stores, I’ll purchase one to make my solar wax melter. Stay tuned for that tutorial!
After what is hopefully the last snow fall, temperatures are moving up into the 60s, and if the weather reports are correct, they should stick and continue to warm. Will be a wet April, so flowers will be blooming soon and we’ll be planting in the garden this weekend.
Happy spring everyone and may the bees come a buzzing’ very soon!