Making Up for Lost Time

Friday, May 15, 2015

The honey flow is in full force right now.  While everyone else is hacking and sneezing, the bees are taking advantage of the spring blooms. They’re crazy busy collecting pollen and nectar, procreating, and making honey.  Go girls, go!

Chilled Brood

We did have a minor setback about 2 weeks ago.  Frost set in for several evenings, chilling the eggs and larvae, as shown in the photo below, and setting the girls back a week or two.  When I inspected the hives, I naturally thought the queen was once again having issues.  But seeing as I’ve been through this exact scenario only a few weeks earlier, I checked back a week later and found the queens were back in business, quickly laying new brood.

photoHeavy Supers

I added supers to all hives about a month ago.  This past week I lifted them off for inspection and realized how heavy they are already!  That’s exciting news and could indicate a good honey harvest (no jinxing).  By this weekend, I hope to have a second layer of supers on all of my hives.  Good thing I’ve been cleaning frames and boxes.  I’ve stacked quite a few boxes in the greenhouse. Lots of light in there to keep wax moths away.  I’ve given up on maintaining consistent color schemes and have succumbed to mixing them up.

photo

Expanding the Brood Chambers

In addition to adding supers, my other strategy was to adapt “The Rose Hive” method of adding brood boxes just above the bottom box to expand the brood chamber (laying area) rather than expanding from above.  Bees swarm because they run out of space to lay and/or there’s lack of ventilation.  The theory is that if you continue to expand the brood chamber and ensure they have plenty of room, then they will continue to populate and won’t have reason to swarm.  Makes perfect sense to me!  I don’t believe you can ever prevent them from swarming, but they may bee inclined to stay a bit longer.

With that said, all of these supers and brood boxes are stacking up into some pretty tall colonies.  My next strategy is to start splitting so we can get yellow hive back up and running.

Loving this gorgeous spring weather.  Hard to get upset about the pollen when I know how happy my bees are.  Hang in there everyone, and keep eating your local raw honey.  The more local the better!

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6 thoughts on “Making Up for Lost Time

  1. Nice work I have new packages and I was just wondering if I stop feeding now will that make the queen shut down during flow someone said that and I just couldn’t believe that would happen during heavy nectar flow they would stop taking syrup anyway after while

    • My opinion (might get differing opinions from different beekeepers), is don’t stop feeding until they’ve built out a box or two of comb and have some good frames of honey stores. Then, if there’s a nectar flow on, let them go. I fed my bees throughout my entire first year, but if they have adequate stores and comb, and there’s plenty of nectar to bee found, then they should be fine to fend for themselves. As they become more established, you’ll find you won’t have to feed them at all. This year mine have been feeding themselves. Some good reading below.

      Check out the article below at HoneyBSuite.com…
      http://www.honeybeesuite.com/how-long-should-i-feed-a-new-package-of-bees/

      Also, Michael Bush’s book, “The Practical Beekeeper” is fantastic and will answer all of your questions with simple common sense answers. Here’s his response to your question from his site: http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm

      And don’t forget Beesource.com – fantastic forum for answering any type of bee questions such as this one. Hope this helps!

    • That’s fantastic, and it’s only May. We’ll start expanding outward soon, that means adding more hives. I’ll bee painting more new boxes, and we’re putting swarm traps up this weekend. I have yet to catch one!

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