June 2019 Beekeeping Notes

Hardin County Kentucky Beekeepers AssociationWell the nectar flow began in late April and early May and now starting to slow down in June. The days are getting longer and the bees are flying later into the day up until sundown. Everyone should have placed supers on all mature hives and be adding more as those started to fill up. Need to be checking the hives at least once a week to make sure that the queen has room to lay—may need to rotate frames in the brood box or add new frames with drawn foundation. Frame management in both the brood boxes and the honey supers is very important. It’s also the time when the Varroa mites will start increasing.  If you have honey supers on, you are very limited in treatment options. Pulling and inspecting drone larvae is a good way to check for Varroa mites. But there is no substitute for sampling (alcohol or powdered sugar method) for mites. Allow for adequate ventilation of the hives. Also watch out for those hive beetles moving in. Be proactive and take action to keep them under control. The use of Swiffer no-scent pads laid on the top of the frames in the top boxes can help as well as various types of beetle traps. There are a lot of folks starting to harvest honey early this year. By replacing supers with the cleaned extracted frames back on the hives is a good way to keep the bees stimulated during the latter part of the nectar flow. Sometimes they will immediately start refilling those frames. Some hives may go queen less and it may be necessary to re-queen a hive. There are ways to do this without too much disruption—such as the use of a 3 to 5 frame Nuc with a new queen transitioned into the hive—only takes about 3 or 4 days and the hive is fully back in operation. Some use direct introduction of queens into a queen less hive. All queen cells of any kind need to be removed when re-queening. If the queen has moved up into the supers and have laid eggs and there’s larvae, you have a couple of options.  One is to move those frames with eggs and larvae to the outside of the super and replace with frames full of nectar and honey. You can also move the queen back down and put on a queen excluder. She will need area to lay, several frames with drawn comb will need to be provided.

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