Monday, May 23, 2016

Keep Performing Hive Checks!

I continue to perform complete hive checks every 12 days. My sugar feeders have all been removed from the hives and frames have replaced them as well as inside insulation frames. I have removed all outside insulation as well. Keeping water nearby is paramount throughout the entire season. I think I will add honey supers a couple weeks early this year with the early blooming pattern we are seeing with local flowers. I will let you know when that is and estimate two weeks from today. I am down to two back-up queens so if anyone has an extra queen the want to get rid of please let me know so that if someone calls I can refer them to you. The going rate for queens is $30.00 at this time. If you discover problems with ants you could get a kiddie pool and create a mote around your hive by setting it up on foundation blocks in the middle of the kiddie pool. The ants will drown before they reach the bee hive.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Beekeeping Update

What an amazing start to our beekeeping season! This is the best spring start I have experienced in 13 years. I hope and pray the rest of the summer is as wonderful. I did two hive consultations this weekend to find beautiful colonies with healthy queens, full brood patterns, and the need for more space.
1) Remove sugar feeders at this time because dandelions and choke cherries have blossomed. We want our bees to get out an forage for natural nectars. Replace feeders with frames. You should have 10 frames in each brood box.
2) If you haven't already done so, now is the time to add another brood box to the bottom of hives. What I do is pull a frame or two with some or all drawn-out comb and empty cells into the middle of the bottom box. Then I put a couple frames of pupa on either side of the drawn-out frame. When these bees hatch out they will be loyal to cleaning and building in the box they hatch out of. I complete the box with either bare foundation frames or drawn out frames.
3) Remember to spray sugar water on both sides of bare foundations.
4) The next few days may bring cooler temperatures so I keep entrances reduced to at least medium.
5) Having either inside or outside insulation is advised until temperatures remain above 40 degrees at night.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Don't Divide the Brood Nest!

Most colonies should have at least two frames with full pupa patterns on both sides by now. The bees probably haven't done much with the outer frames yet. Don't fall into the temptation to divide the brood nest by placing frames that aren't drawn-out in between frames with brood in them. Keeping the nest together is very important while night temperatures are still freezing or just barely above freezing. I plan on doing another complete hive check over the weekend. My bees were given their last sugar water last night. If your first brood box only has a couple frames left for the queen to lay in, you can add another brood box to the bottom of the hive. My entrance reducers are at the middle size now but if it drops cold I will change them back to the smallest entrances. Keeping a fresh water source for your bees all summer is vital! Steve Victors would like to recycle the boxes that the bees were shipped in so if you would like to contribute to this cause, please stay tuned for a date and time to drop the box(es) off. Bee careful!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Looking at Pupa!

Everyone who had their honeybees arrive on 4/23/16 should see eggs, larva, and now pupa! Below are photos of pupa patterns. The workers have secreted wax and sealed the brood with a thin layer of wax for the third stage of the metamorphosis. Within the next 10-15 days our first baby bees will be hatching out. When you do your hive checks you can look for their little heads as they chew their way out of the cells. I have re-queened one of my personal hives and two others. If you don't see eggs, larva and pupa by now your hive may bee queenless. Call an experienced beekeeper to have a look at your colony if this is the case! I have removed my outer insulation and still have the inner insulation frames in my hives. Sugar feeding should be complete by May 15th since we should be seeing more dandelions by then. Colonies at higher elevations or cooler locations may need to feed longer.

 Pupa - "Capped Brood" - The third stage of the metamorphosis of insects.
  1. "An insect in its inactive immature form between larva and adult, e.g., a chrysalis." (Google)

  2. Hatched Out Queen Cell - If a queen has already hatched out this is what you will find.
    Female Honeybee Birth
    Queen Bee Cell

    Queen Bee Cells
    -Remove queen cells to prevent swarming!!
    Queen Bee Cells

Sunday, May 1, 2016

First Complete Hive Check of the Season

Today was a beautiful day for complete hive checks! I removed the empty queen cages and am storing them in my tool box until fall when I will cage my queens. My queens are laying beautiful patterns of eggs and within the next 14 days baby honeybees will be born by the hundreds every day all summer, Lord willing. I marked a couple queens today. I will continue to feed my bees sugar water for one more week (about 1-2 more feedings), since I have drawn-out comb. For those who are using mostly bare foundation, you may want to feed sugar water until the middle or end of May in order to encourage wax building. Another way to entice faster wax building is to spray sugar water on bare foundations.I pulled off the outer insulation today and left the inner insulation boards on each side of the brood box. Next weekend would be a good time to add a second brood box below the first box because we want the babies warm and every good scientist knows that heat rises!
From the Science-Based Art of AK, LLC Beekeepers Calendar:
April 29th – May 1st: First Queen & Complete Hive Check (50* or warmer) Looking for eggs & larva (Do not look for queen if it is too cold) If you find no eggs, check again in three days. Do not let sugar water run out!
Keep filling feeder(s) every 3-5 days without doing a full hive check.

See Photos for examples of 
brood patterns.
Healthy pattern of eggs (1-2 days old)

Healthy larva (4-7 days old)

Healthy Larva (7-10 days old)

Spotty (Poor) Queen Pattern

Dead Queen - Laying Worker Eggs (Kill Bees!)