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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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

What is up with this weather.

I have been hesitating writing about the current late winter weather. I wasn't sure what to make of it. But now the long term forecast looks like this weather may be here to stay. I am looking at this two ways one side says go for spring time management or the other, hold off because it is still winter.  I think it is safe to take off the winter covers and moisture boards. If it gets cold again the covers are easy to put back on if a person wanted to. The moisture boards can be put away they will no longer be needed.
Normally reversals happen around April 1st. If your colony is jammed packed with bees a reversal can be done. If your top box is not packed with bees then I would hold off on reversals for a while. Pollen patties should be on now. The pollen patties need to be placed where the bees can touch the patties. If the patties are put too far from the bees, the bees will not consume them and the brood in the hive may not be getting what they need to build up.
 Speaking of pollen, we should start having natural pollen available soon. Pollen patties still need to be on. If the weather turns cold the bees can't forage. If there is no pollen in the hive the brood can perish and set a colony back.
 Bees will be looking everywhere for pollen. The bees will be at bird feeders and sawdust piles picking up dust. It is not pollen but they think it is.
Sawing up green treated lumber this time of year? Bees will collect the dust and bring it back to the hive. Treated lumber sawdust is toxic to the bees and can kill a hive.
This hive is not strong enough to do a reversal at this time. It looks great for this time of year, but needs further development

This colony if it has bees top to bottom like this, could be reversed. Look under the box to see if the bees are covering all the frames. If they are, it could be reversed. If not hold off.
A reversal is in this order.
three deep and two deep, box number order. Before and after the reversal.
Three deep --Two deep
1 ----- 3        1 ------- 2
2 ----- 1        2 ------- 1
3 ----- 2
When in doubt, do nothing. The most important thing right now is pollen patties and enough food to stay alive. Don't feed pail after pail of syrup. You will plug the hive up with syrup leaving the queen no place to lay.
The weather will dictate the reversals in the near future. There still may be 40's in the future and getting too far ahead, may be like shooting ourselves in the foot. Queens aren't available until late April. The bees won't be swarming until late April at the earliest. Patience and observation is where we are at on the bee front.
Look at my links section on the right hand side of this blog. How to divide a colony. That is from Gary's webpage. Gary does a great job of describing the pre- divide work and the divide itself .