Bee on my privet

Monday, March 23, 2015

Why do I do this to myself every year?

Hello bee keeping  friends(or just friends or perhaps bee interested friends). I hope the rapidly approaching spring finds you better prepared than I am. Another story!! Yay!
 Cast your minds back a few posts ago when I was suddenly and violently relocated. Not only was I relocated, I was moved to another division. Not so bad in itself but we do different things...differently. Of course to learn the new and...different...things I have to go to school. On the plus side school is provided by work. On the negative side it takes up a lot of time out of town in big chunks.
 Thus I am currently sitting in hotel in New England instead of in my shop building hive bodies and collecting my soon to arrive nucleus hives. My wife, bless her sweet heart, has agreed to bring thousands of stinging insects home for me and pay my supplier. In addition she is setting up a hive stand for them so they don't have to live on the grass till I get home. I picked a good one (the wife not hives..well maybe both but definitely the wife).
 Nonetheless, spring is here as of a few days ago. What is significant about spring, you ask? (You guys ask the best questions). I am glad you asked. Right about the winter equinox, the queen started slowly building up the numbers in the hive. Now that the warm weather is nearly here, she will redouble, nay triple or better her efforts. Sounds great, huh? Lots of fun buzzing happy bees. Well, it is but there is also a danger involved. Too much too soon and they could starve. But it is spring!, you say. True but the weather is unpredictable. Maybe there will be a nice early supply of pollen and nectar. But most likely there will be slim pickings. Now is the time to check for food stores. As it warms switch to 1:1 syrup if you are feeding syrup. Bees tend to stop taking syrup when enough nectar is available. Also, those pollen patties that I have never mentioned before? Get them out and place them in the hive. "What the heck are the "pollen patties""? you ask wisely. Pollen patties are well, patties with pollen or pollen substitute in them. The are sandwiched between wax paper sheets and generally set right on the top of the frames. The bees eat them in as they go. The bees use them to help feed the upcoming larvae ( I knew you would ask why they need them) in place of freshly harvested pollen.
 Spring is another good time to treat for mites. The overall population is low, there are minimal capped larvae and the temperatures are getting warm enough to get into the hives. Some mite treatments do not allow collecting honey during treatment and sometime after treatment is over. Some of these products must remain in the hive for up to 6 weeks. Plan accordingly.
 Or course you need more hive bodies, bottom boards, cover, and hive stands for the splits you are about to do. You do split your hives, right?
 Well when I get home I will be splitting. Sounds like another fascination episode in the making.
 Make a note when you go out what flowers are blooming when, track when your bees start bringing in pollen when they start bringing in nectar.
 Do you requeen every year? I might every two years. I kind of watch and see how spring build up is going. The bees tend to requeen themselves before I do. If you do, order them now. I recommend the later queens as sometimes the drone population is not high enough for the early queens and I worry there might not be enough genetic diversity or enough fertilized eggs.
 Well, I might have one more second hand adventure to post before I get home so stay tuned!!

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