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 1, 2014

The bee season so far

Hives are increasing in population. This worker is just popping thru the capped cell

The warm weather has been a welcome change from our cold spring. The warmer weather has made it easy for the bees to expand their brood nest. Right now everyone who has put in package bees should have put on their second boxes by now. I have heard that many beekeepers who were on the first delivery have hives becoming very populated with bees.
 Overwintered colonies have been starting to swarm. Many of these colonies have exploding populations and need to be divided if they haven't been divided yet. If the beekeeper doesn't divide the colonies, they will divide themselves and  the beekeepers honey crop for this year will be in a tree in a swarm cluster.
Weekly checks of swarm cells is a must this year. The nectar flow will be delayed about 10 - 14 days. That puts the nectar flow starting around July 1st - July 5th.
Hives will be very crowded by that time and swarming will become a problem even in package bees. If the nectar flow is decent this season I think package bees will be able to produce a super or two of honey.
 At the moment the fruit bloom is winding down, dandelions are going to seed, and trees have bloomed and have leafed out. The current nectar flow is going away. The next nectar flow is Black Locust tree. This flow will happen in the next 10 days or so. The first Alfalfa crop should also be blooming in the same time period. I have not seen any hay being cut yet but that should be coming soon.
 For many of the local beekeepers there may be a dearth in pollen for the next three weeks. It is a good idea for beekeepers to put on pollen patties during their next visit to the hive.