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Spring management - Ohio State Beekeepers Association

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Spring management – feeding,
requeening, hive inspections,
adding honey supers, etc.
#6
Presented
By
The Ohio State Beekeeper’s Association
Getting Ready for Spring!
Hive Population Growth
In the Spring/winter….
In Ohio queens begin laying in late January and you will find small
patches of capped brood in February. This growth increases in March
and April. This chart is based upon a chart released by OSU in 1976
of an ideal colony entering January with a population of 40,000 bees.
80000
70000
60000
50000
Day old larva
Adult Bee Pop.
Nectar pollen
40000
30000
20000
10000
0
Jan
March
Getting Ready for Spring!
Spring management really began last fall.
• We put our entrance guards on our hives
• We made sure our hive had enough honey
surplus for the bees to survive the winter.
• We tilted the bottom board so water would not
run into the hive.
• We provided upper ventilation
• We provided a wind break for the hive.
• And we treated for mites. And so why do we
need to worry about spring?
Getting Ready for Spring!
• Spring Management
•
If your bees survived the
winter, there are things that
need to be done. You can open
your hive even during cold
weather. However, do not pull
out any frames. You will need
to carry out an early hive
inspection. Things you will
look for and do:
• You can take the top cover off
to see if the bees are alive.
• Good sign: The bees are
alive!
Getting Ready for Spring!
It is winter and snow is
still on the ground.
Temperature’s are
getting into the single
figures overnight.
What are our bees
doing?
It is okay to open a hive but
do not pull any frames out
of the hive for inspection!
Getting Ready for Spring!
• Spring Management
• You can get into your hive
anytime the temperature of
the outside air reaches 55
degrees F. It will be better if
you wait until the
temperature gets to 60
degrees or more. Things
you will look for and do:
• Are the bees flying? Are
they in the cluster?
• The thermometer in the
picture shows 55 degrees.
Getting Ready for Spring!
Spring Management
• Open the hive, and check to
see how many frames the
bees seem to be covering.
• You do not want to leave this
hive open very long on a
cool day like this.
• Also check the hives weight.
If light, the hive will need to
be fed.
Getting Ready for Spring!
Spring Management
• Do they need feed?
• If so, it should be one of
your higher priorities.
• Many people feed sugar
syrup. Use a heavier
mixture 1:1 sugar and
water early in spring
and later go to 2 parts
water and 1 part sugar.
Getting Ready for Spring!
Spring Management
• Do they need feed?
• There are many types of
feeders. One that I do
not recommend in early
spring is called the
Boardman Feeder.
• Can you see why the
boardman feeder in this
picture is not doing the
bees any good?
Getting Ready for Spring!
Spring Management
• There are many types of
feeders.
• Division board feeders
fit inside the hive.
• One Gallon Bucket to
feed over the inner
cover hole.
• Top feeder -- no picture
shown.
Getting Ready for Spring!
• A warm day
finally arrives….
• The bees have
been fed…..
• We are now
ready for a real
hive inspection!
Getting Ready for Spring!
•
Spring Management
•
When the bees are flying and
the temperatures have warmed
up to 60 degrees or so:
•
•
Open the hive……….
If there is no brood you have a
problem -- You will need to
purchase a new queen
immediately.
If the queen is laying poorly,
replace her. Don't kill her until
the new queen arrives. Again,
don’t keep the hive open for
very long.
•
Getting Ready for Spring!
• Spring Management
• Check the hive for any
mouse damage. Mice get
into the hives during winter
and build a nest in the lower
corner of frames. If this has
happened, remove the
frames that are damaged -remove the nest and check
to make sure no mice are
running around inside the
hive.
Getting Ready for Spring!
Spring Management
Cleaning chores…..
• Clean all debris from
the bottom board.
• Loosen frames and
clean them if necessary.
• Clean around the hives.
Getting Ready for Spring!
Spring Management
•
If your hive is weak, you might consider buying a two pound
package of bees. You can kill the old queen and introduce the
package to the rest of the bees still in the hive. As you get
more hives, you will be able to borrow frames of bees and
brood from your strongest hives and make the weaker hive
stronger. In beekeeper terms this is called "equalizing the
brood".
• You will also want to treat your hive for mites. Hopefully, the
practice of putting chemicals in a hive to save the bees will
soon end with the introduction of queens that are mite
resistant. It appears that we may be getting stock that can hold
its own against varroa mite. We have already achieved it with
the tracheal mite. If you need a new queen, certainly consider
the mite resistant stock available.
Getting Ready for Spring!
Spring Management
• Another thing you might want to check would be: Are any
critters brothering your bees. Skunks are a problem in some
areas. Bears can be a problem (You will see the damage
without any trouble). Skunks eat honey bees and once they
discover a meal to be had, they will be back every night. Signs
of skunk damage: the grass in front of the hive entrance will be
matted down and if the skunk has been working the hive over a
period of time, the grass will be worn away showing a bare
patch of dirt in front of the hive. You will also find scratch
marks on the front of the hive. Skunks disturb the hive and
when a honey bees comes out the entrance to check to see
what has caused that disturbance, the skunk will have a meal.
• You may have to re-level your hive.
• Check for hive maintenance. Does it hive need a new coat of
paint? Be proud of your hive/hives. If you maintain your
equipment, it will last for a long time.
•
Getting Ready for Spring!
Spring Management -- Adding supers
• You can expect your hive to develop
swarming fever! It is important to be one
step ahead of the bees. This is about the
same time apple trees begin to bloom. Bees
will not usually gather a honey crop from
apple and maple. They will however be
using the pollen and nectar for brood
rearing. As the population explodes, the
bees will be crowded without the extra
space. Bees swarm as early as mid April in
Ohio. You will be faced with the decision to
make splits (discussed in the next series of
slides), or add honey supers to expand the
room available for the bees.
Getting Ready for Spring!
Spring Management -Spring inspection
Examination of your hives
requires a careful check of
each hive. This is called a
spring inspection.
Getting Ready for Spring!
Spring Management -- inspections
What you want to accomplish…
1. Check on the condition of the queen
(brood patterns, population size etc.)
2. Check for diseases.
3. Check for equipment needs.
Your goal is to get your hive to maximum
hive strength for the nectar flow – for
your surplus honey and their survival.
Getting Ready for Spring!
Spring Management -Spring inspections
It is easier to examine the
hive in the spring
because the bee
population is small.
You could find your queen
to mark her and clip her
wings if desired.
Getting Ready for Spring!
Spring Management -Pollen and Nectar
sources….
Ohio has a wide assortment of
flowering trees, shrubs, and
flowering plants.
Ohio is not a major honey
producing state.
However, our bees do
gather surplus honey!
Getting Ready for Spring!
Pollen and Nectar
sources….
As the weather
warms in Ohio,
the bees will
become active
seeking pollen
and nectar.
Getting Ready for Spring!
Pollen and Nectar
sources….
The bees use this for
brood production…
It takes approximately one
frame of nectar and one
frame of pollen to
produce one frame of
brood. March is a very
important month for the
growth of a hives bee
population. They
consume a lot of food.
Pollen and Nectar sources….
Late Spring -Beginning of
honey flow
Raspberries
Black Locust
Honeysuckle
Pollen and Nectar sources….
Late Spring -Honey plants….
White Clover
Various mints
Wild flowers
Getting Ready for Spring!
Some comments about equipment…
A shallow honey super
A medium honey super
Do you need a queen excluder?
Getting Ready for Spring!
Some comments about
equipment…
A shallow honey super Weight
when full of honey about
30 lbs.
The dimensions of a shallow super are:
19-13/16” x 16-1/4” x 5-3/4”
The shallow frame is 5-3/8” deep. One
can use various types of foundation
in them:
Honey production -- usually called
brood foundation and can be wired
or plain.
Cut Comb production – thin foundation
used for comb honey production or
sometimes called cut comb
foundation.
Pictures from Dadant Catalog
Getting Ready for Spring!
Some comments about
equipment…
A medium honey super -Weight when full of honey
about
40 lbs.
These are normally used
for honey production.
Foundation can be
wired or plain. New in
the last 10+ years is
plastic frames &
foundation.
Getting Ready for Spring!
Some comments about equipment…
Do you need a queen excluder?
Some beekeepers call a queen excluder a “bee excluder.”
They find that honey bees resist going up thru the bee
excluder to deposit honey in the honey super. It is an
interesting topic and you will find those who recommend
them and others who curse them.
However, if you are producing comb honey, one is essential
to keep the queen out of the honey supers. If the queen
gets up into the honey supers, she will lay eggs – thus
the comb will darken, and the pupa will create cocoons in
the cells which make the wax undesirable.
Getting Ready for Summer!
Summer is most likely the most
pleasant season of the year!
Packages have been picked up
and installed.
Hive inspections have been
done. Honey supers added.
It is now time for the bees to do
their work!
Time even for a vacation,
unless you are a commercial
guy!
Getting Ready for Summer!
Finis
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