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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Monday, May 16, 2016

What is happening now in the hive

The fruit bloom is on the wane. I hope all the area fruit growers have not been hit hard from the weekend frost around the metro.
The bees have been able to cruise through the cold weather. There may be some chilled brood in some colonies. The cold had probably caused hive clusters to contract some. It wouldn't surprise me to see some dead brood getting hauled out the front door over the next few days.
 The first delivery of 2 lb packages should have their second boxes on right now. The bees should have drawn out 8 of the 10 frames by now. Don't get hung up on waiting for the bees to draw out the outside frames. If your colony has not finished 8 frames yet, you may have to wait until the bees have achieved this goal.
 3 lb packages should also be getting close to needing a second box if one hasn't been added already.
When adding the second box, remove one of the frames from the first box that the bees are working on. Make sure there is only honey and pollen on the frame, do not move brood. Place the frame in the second box on the center. This is bait for the bees to move up. Evenly space out the frames in the lower box that now will have 9 frames in the box. It will take the bees about another 3 weeks to a month for the bees to draw out the second box.
 Change the entrance reducer to the bigger opening.
Keep pollen on the hives and continue to feed syrup if there is still comb being built.
Now we will be entering a time when there is a dearth of pollen and nectar. This will last for a couple weeks. Pollen patties are on all hives in case pollen is needed in the hive.
The next nectar flow will be Black Locust trees. Black Locust can produce very nice light honey. The trees bloom in late May, the blooms are large clumps of white showy flowers. While the trees are not in large quantities, the beekeepers that have the good fortune to have them, will benefit.
Populations in all hives will be increasing. The warmer weather coming in will help the bees expand their brood nest and occupy more frames in the hives.
Swarming will be an ongoing concern in overwintered colonies. I don't think swarming behavior will change until the main nectar flow kicks in around mid June.