April 16, 2017 – Spring Management
Another interesting week…. We had wonderful weather until today when we had some snow coming down. I can’t complain too much, thinking back to the draining springs we have had for the past few years. Overnight temperatures are remaining at or above freezing for April thus far, which is good for the bees while they build up their nests.
The hives have all taken down another pound of bee pro dry pollen substitute and also a pound of 10% pollen patties inside the hive. I opened them all up to assess the stores on Saturday afternoon, many of them required an additional pound of pollen patty. They were very calm and I was able to open and work them without gloves without any stings, a luxury that is not common, as often due to my day job I am working the hives later in the evening, when they become more defensive.
It is interesting to see their feeding pattern as the size of the nest can somewhat be determined by how many frames they are feeding on the patty from.
Many of the hives look as though they will be needing additional space towards the end of next week, weather permitting but some will need an additional 2 weeks after that. The first round of spring brood is now hatching which should help bolster the hive populations and health.
I have also been preparing the additional brood boxes with 2 new frames of foundation for the bees to build out. They are marked with the year and “B” for brood comb. I have been buying in a lot of frames from other beekeepers as I expand my operation, my plan is to rotate these frames out of my operation eventually. Ideally frames would only reach an age of 5 years before being rotated out for fresh comb. Replacing 2 frames from each super is a good management practice and doesn’t slow up production much at all.
We have one hive that I found to be queen-less on inspection today, rather than waste precious time trying to save a doomed hive this early in spring, I shook out the remaining bees in front of a weak hive, and after finding no sign of virus on the frames, will use the honey frames to help the other hives make it to the dandelion flow.
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