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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Sunday, June 4, 2017

Supers On

This hive is having a nectar flow. New white comb can be seen on the darker burr comb. The white new wax means nectar is currently coming into the hive. This is a way to identify a nectar flow.

The weather this coming week is perfect bee weather. The warm temperatures will be getting many plants towards their blooming stage of their lifecycle. There is an old saying that the nectar flow starts about 10 days after the first clover is spotted. I had clover blooming in my yard about four days ago. Supers should be put on now on any colony that is ready for them.
The southern part of the state of MN may already be into a nectar flow and it may be coming very soon into the metro area. Black Locust trees are in full bloom right now. I was driving east on Hwy 36 last night. I saw several stands of Black Locust trees blooming between Dale and 35E on the southside of the road.
 Package bees, if the bees are done drawing comb in the deep boxes put your supers on now. If the colonies are on their last box, monitor them closely. Colonies with just have a frame or two to finish, it would be best to put the supers on. All colonies right now are exploding with bees. There may be six frames of brood emerging in a very short time. A deep box of foundation that took a month to draw out a short time ago, now can be finished in ten days. Colonies drawing foundation still should be fed syrup, but that may be ending soon. Weak colonies are the exception and still may need syrup on for a while yet.
 With the higher populations everything will change quickly. As beekeepers, we need to be prepared for the changing condition of the hive. Colonies should be checked on a seven day cycle for swarm cells.
 When putting supers on with new foundation, the supers with foundation need to be put on so they are located right above the brood boxes. Supers with already drawn comb can be stacked on top of each other. As the supers fill up and a new super is needed, supers with foundation are put underneath filled supers. Supers with drawn comb, just keep stacking them on.
 I do use queen excluders on all my colonies. But with new supers with new foundation, I usually leave the queen excluder off until I see wax and nectar on a frame or two in the first super. I do quick check of the supers looking for a queen, if she happens to be there, I encourage her to move down into the top deep with a little smoke. I then slip the excluder underneath the supers.
 Supers go on two at a time. This time of year, if the honey flow starts off with an intense flow. As super can be drawn out, filled and capped in one week. Check your colonies once a week to monitor the progress of the supers.
 The honey flow is almost here. Beekeepers have worked towards this goal all spring. We have nurtured small colonies from three and four frames of bees to a hive that is packed top to bottom with bees. We are now approaching the payoff with boxes of golden nectar.