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.


  1. Yesterday afternoon (05-16) we removed the sugar feeders and added a second brood box to each hive (we have two hives). Each box has 8 frames + 2 insulated frames. We put a total of three drawn-out/pupa frames in each new brood box. With all of that newly found room it sure seems lonely. We'll check the boxes this weekend. Hopefully everyone settles into their newly remodeled home! Curiously this morning we noticed about a dozen or so dead bees alongside the removed sugar feeders. We placed the feeders outside the box near the entrance. So, don't really know why these bees died. Even with 30,000 bee babies we don't like to see any premature deaths!

  2. So, on further examination of the sugar feeders we see comb drawn out on the inside of each sugar feeder tube. And, unfortunately, one of the tubes was fairly packed with bees -- now dead bees. It's not clear to us why this has occurred. If anyone cares to comment we'd like to hear it.