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!
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.
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.
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!