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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Friday, May 31, 2019

Filling supers on overwintered colonies

Overwintered colonies have been bringing in nectar from the dandelion and fruit bloom. A beekeeper asked me why are the bees not putting nectar in her supers. I asked some questions and here are my relies:
  • Did the hive swarm? If a colony swarms the nectar collection of a colony is diminished considerably. She says the hive did not swarm because she still has a marked queen and has been checking for swarm cells.
  • Is the hive strong? She said it was strong. So the capability to get nectar is there.
  • Was the top brood box heavy with honey? She said no, the top brood box was not heavy with honey before she put on the supers.
  • After our conversation this is what she observed: The bees had not put nectar up into the supers. But what she did notice that the top box was filling up with nectar.
  • The investigation of no nectar in the supers ended up being this: The bees were bringing in nectar. The bees will fill their top brood box with honey first before they put anything into the honey supers. The nectar being stored in the top box will be the hives winter honey. When the top box is filling up, at that time the bees will move up into the supers. Sometimes the bees may not fill supers until the main nectar flow in late June. But the colony will be ahead of the nectar collection. The top box is filled up so the only place to keep more honey is in the supers.
  • Now she has to practice swarm control until the main nectar flow is going.
  • The next nectar flow will be Black Locust trees. They normally bloom in late May. But the Black Locust blooms may be delayed a few days this year. It appears our area is behind from a normal spring. Bees can get a very good honey crop of these trees. So, if you have Black Locust trees near your hives, get your supers on any overwintered colonies.