This blog explains how I keep bees. It works for me, it might not work for you. Use my methods at your own risk. Always wear protective clothing and use a smoker when working bees.

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Where are we at in our beekeeping calander?

I have been thinking where the over wintered hives are at from a traditional year standpoint. Right now our temperatures have been in the month of May area. Beekeepers have reported widespread over wintering success. Many hives are very strong right now. If this weather keeps up, swarming may become an issue by mid to late April. Normally reversals are done around the first of April but, if a colony is packed with bees it may be a good idea to do a reversal now. The week ahead outlook for weather has it still in the 60 - 70 degree range. Many colonies seem to be in the mid April mode.
If a colony is two deep and loaded with bees it may not be a bad idea to add a third box on top for more room. If the box is new foundation, a beekeeper will have to feed the bees for them to draw out the wax comb. Not feeding the bees with foundation on the hive would make the bees do nothing with it. The bees would look at this no comb box as no room and it will do nothing to alleviate crowding. A strong colony will draw this box out quickly. They will store honey in this box from the feed. The quicker a queen moves up into the box to lay eggs the less honey they will store.
This early and prolonged spring build up may make queens that are two years old run out of gas. I have already been hearing about queenless colonies. Hard to get any queens this time of year. For a hive to make a queen and have it properly mated this time of year would be a major crapshoot.
Keeping pollen on the hive, making sure there is enough honey, enough room in the hive for the bees and watching for swarming as it gets into later April is all we can do for them at the moment.