Tuesday, March 29, 2016

What Is Going On In Maria's Apiary: Spring Cleanup

It is a wonderful feeling to pop off the covers
and find a strong honey bee hive

Hives are strong and ready to go.
Strong hives in early Spring are both a delightful surprise and an incredible challenge. You have the promise of a wonderful honey crop, provided you can keep the bees in their boxes.

Every Spring, I am reminded how close to the edge honey bees overwinter. At the start of the Maple flow, the honey bee cluster is usually pushing at the inner lid. I like to check their status at the first break in the weather.

Last year's May splits and packages had around 4 honey frames left each. There was one exception - one hive had a full second brood box. Of course, I checkerboarded that one. I am also going to keep it in mind as a possible candidate for queen breeder.

The splits that I made in July had at most 1 frame of honey left and were making the best of the candy boards that I put on in the Fall.

I reversed the boxes on the rest of them, made sure each hive had at least 2 capped honey frames and plenty of candy board left and added fresh patties. I also swapped the weakest and the strongest hive positions in order to equalize the populations.