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 25, 2018

Hot Weather and Late May Happenings

The hot weather is upon us.
 Strong overwintered colonies should have their entrance reducers out. The hot weather may drive some bee out of the hive and they may be covering the front of the hive. The bees are hot and they try to cool themselves by hanging outside. This is normal behavior. After this hot spell, all beekeepers should go through their colonies and look for swarm cells. The heat may spur development of swarm cells. A quick check may keep the bees at home. If the top box has eggs in the box, do a reversal. Moving the queen down on overwintered colonies will give the queen more spaces to lay. Put your supers on if they are not on already.
 April Package bee colonies should all have their second box on by now. Package bee populations should be increasing and the frames will look more crowded. If drawing foundation, keep feeding syrup. When the bees have finished 80% of the second box and you are not going to add a third deep, remove one the frames and run nine frames, Do a reversal. Top box to bottom, bottom box to top. Put your supers on.
 If you are going to run three deep boxes, when the bees have finished 80% of second box, remove a honey and pollen frame that the bees are working on. Space out the nine frames evenly in the second box. Add the third deep, put the honey and pollen frame in the center of the third deep box. Keep the feed on, if you don't have a deep box to cover the feeder pail, use two supers. The populations are getting bigger, so there are more bees to to work faster. The bees may be able to draw out the third box in about ten days. When the bees have finished 80% of the top box, do a reversal. Top box to bottom, bottom box to top.
If the bees are delayed in finishing the top box in either a two or three deep box, if it gets past June 20th, do not do a reversal. If the top box is very heavy with nectar, that is the winter honey for the bees. It will be too late for a reversal. Put your supers on.
 Late May is a time of pollen dearth. The fruit bloom is almost over, if not over in your locale. I think in Duluth and northern MN it is underway right now. But for the metro area,  pollen availability will start to be much more sporadic. Pollen patties should be offered to the bees. They don't need full patties, a third to a half of a patty will give the bees a pollen option if they need it. Checking the pollen patty weekly and replace as needed.
 This pollen dearth may last until around mid June. By then we should start seeing more early summer flowers coming out.
 There will not be much nectar coming in for now either. Colonies should be checked weekly for honey stores. It can be as simple as lifting the hive boxes up. If one hive boxes feels heavy, there should be enough honey stores. If the boxes feel light, feeding should be done right away. It would be a sad day if the colonies starved at this stage of the season.
 Hives a building up, The nectar flow is about a month away. Keep the bees at home and there may be a big crop of honey in your future.