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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Saturday, June 3, 2017


The nectar flow is coming very soon. This is the time of year reversals cause confusion. Normally on package bees with new foundation, when the bees finish their last box, beekeepers should do a reversal. Bottom box is changed with the top box. Bottom box to top, top box to bottom. The reasoning is this, there is more pollen stored in the bottom box, with the bottom box now on the top, when the nectar flow starts the bees will fill the top box with honey. This honey is the winter stores for the colony.
 During winter the bees will move up into the top box sometime in late January. As the bees uncap honey for winter food, the bees will expose stored pollen. The queen will start laying around mid February. Now that there is brood in the colony, pollen is needed to feed the young larvae. No pollen means no brood. The last reversal has helped to insure that pollen will be available.
 So now the confusion. If a package colony has not finished the top box and the nectar flow starts. The bees will fill the top box with honey. If the top box is very heavy and is filled with honey it is too late to do a reversal. I have had several customers do a late spring reversal and put the top box full of honey on the bottom of the hive. Their bees died over the next winter because all of the winter food stores were on the bottom of the hive. The bees will not move down to get honey. The bees may starve even though there is a large amount of food stores in the bottom of the hive.
 So what to do? If the top box is full and you missed the reversal opportunity, grab a frame of pollen from a lower box and put it into the center of the top box. The bees will fill in honey on top of the pollen. This will give the bees some available pollen in February. If this doesn't work for you, pollen patties can be given to bees a little earlier than normal to fill the pollen gap.