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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, June 15, 2020

What is happening now in the hive

We have now crossed mid June today. Flowering plants are starting to be seen in large numbers. Yellow Sweet Clover is blooming all around the metro area.
White Sweet Clover, this is one of our main nectar plants

Yellow Sweet Clover, this plant is not our main nectar plant. 



 Yellow Sweet Clover is not our best nectar plant in the eastern part of MN and WI. Yellow Sweet Clover seems to produce more nectar in drier environments, like western MN and the Dakota's, Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana.
 White sweet clover will be blooming soon. I do see it growing in the ditches.
I would think in the next 10 days the main nectar flow will be coming on strong.
 If your hive hasn't finished drawing out the last deep box, it probably will be too late to do a reversal. If your top box is very heavy with honey, DO NOT do a reversal. This box will be the hives winter stores. If the hive's top box is pretty much finished and the box is not full of honey you can do a reversal.
 Everyone should be putting on their honey supers now. If the honey supers are all foundation, I usually put the supers on without a queen excluder at first. Check the supers every four days, once there is some comb being built and some nectar in the cells, then put your queen excluder on.
 Supers go on two at a time. If you have drawn out supers, just set them on top of the queen excluder.
 As supers fill up, drawn out supers can just be stacked on top of the supers that are partially full or full. Stay ahead of the bees. When the second super is getting honey on a few frames, it is time to add two more supers. Stay ahead of the bees in the first half of the honey season. When it gets to be around July 21st or so, the honey may be slowing down a bit and the supers may not fill up as fast.
 When putting on supers with undrawn foundation, these new frames have to placed just above the queen excluder. If you place new frames on top of other already drawn supers, sometimes the bees won't touch them.
 The queen excluder debate: Some beekeepers call queen excluders honey excluders. Some beekeepers say when they put on queen excluders they never get any honey. The truth of the matter is, many times when this has happened to a beekeeper, the reason no honey goes into the supers is because their hive has swarmed and they don't realize this has happened. I know a commercial beekeeper who runs 5,000 hives. He has queen excluders on every hive. I can honestly say that if he would get more honey without queen excluders he would not use excluders. He has to clean the excluders every year, this costs him money to do this, so he does see value in using excluders.  So he does use them and has huge honey crops most years. This is his livelihood. So he will use whatever works best for him.  
 Get your supers on. Our hard work of starting the bees and doing all the management is about to pay off. The honey flow is about to start any time now. As Basil Furgala said, you can't make honey if your supers are in your garage.

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