Current Beekeeping Notes

3 posts

May 2019 Beekeeping Notes

Hardin County Kentucky Beekeepers Association

  • Currently the hives are growing in population and many have reached the stage for swarming. The swarming is activated in most cases by the lack of space in the hive for the bees to bring in nectar and pollen and/or the lack of space for the queen to continue laying eggs.
  • The bees are actively bring in nectar and pollen because the nectar flow has started. Honey supers should be added on a regular basis
  • Some hives may go queen less due to the age or health of the queen or due to swarming.
  • Re-queening of hives is normal this time of year.
  • If you haven’t added supers, you need to on all well-developed hives! Basically, when adding supers it is recommended to start off with 2 supers and add additional ones well in advance of those first 2 being completely filled. Continue to add supers one at a time until you harvest honey. It is not uncommon for there to be 4 supers on a good productive hive by the time you harvest honey in late June or early July.
  • Very productive queens will venture up into the supers and start laying. To prevent this from happing, you can use a queen excluder or gain the knowledge of brood frame management within the supers. This is not a simple function and requires a degree of due diligence on a regular basis.
  • Hive beetles are on the increase so try to control them. There are various options available.
  • Be sure to sample and test for Varroa Mites and treat as may be appropriate. Reference the Honey Bee Health Coalition website for more information.

February 2019 Beekeeping Notes

Hardin County Kentucky Beekeepers AssociationBeekeeping Notes for February

You should to be thinking and planning ahead out into March and April.” Moisture and extreme swings in the daily temperatures is again a huge issue this February. The bees will be cluster during the very cold days, but the bees acclimate very well as long as they are healthy bees. The queens will start laying during warm days above 50 degrees and the bees will be flying. Be watchful of Tracheal Mite issues; bees staggering around on the ground outside the hive; the wings appear to be deformed. The old timers used to make up grease patties for Tracheal mite control. A few dead bees outside the hive is not unusual because the winter bees will start dying off. February is the time for early Varroa mite treatment before there is any significant buildup of brood. Many beekeepers will be using Oxalic Acid either by vaporization or fogging. Treatments should only be applied on warm days when the bees have broken cluster and are flying. Refer to the Honey Bee Health Coalition website for more information. For screened bottom boards, be sure to remove the debris/inspection boards and scrape them clean before replacing them.

On a nice warm day above 50 degrees with little to not wind take a look into the hive to see if the cluster is about the same size as previously and that there is still adequate stored or supplemental food source available. If the hive has died out, take it down and clean it up for use later. It is NOT recommended to start feeding 1:1 sugar syrup in February because there are still periods of very cold and freezing temperatures. Feed any spring pollen/protein patties can be done after the middle of February if the weather has started to warm toward spring. Adding these patties will stimulate the bees and the queen to lay so be cautious that you don’t apply to early. Some beekeepers do not apply these patties until mid to late March. .

If you have a need to relocate any hives, February is the best time before the weather really warms up too much and the bees begin actively forging for pollen. Recommend relocation when there is going to be a three or four day period of cold weather which will keep the bees cluster within the hive. Be extremely careful not to break up the cluster while moving the hives.

Now is the time to get the beekeeping equipment repaired or built for use in the spring. Old black/dark foundation should be removed and replaced with new. It is best to wait until close to the time the new foundation is to be used to place the wax foundation into the frame. The wax foundation can become dried out and cracked and the bees will not work it. This is true for waxing of plastic foundation—wait until closer to the time that you need to put it into use.
If you have not yet order packages and Nuc’s and/or queens for spring—it may be too late for delivery in April and early May. But later delivery is not a bad thing though.

Start attending HCBA meetings; attend a HCBA March 30th Bee School and join the KY State Beekeepers Association.

January 2019 Beekeeping Notes

Hardin County Kentucky Beekeepers Association

Beekeeping Notes for January

The bees will mostly cluster up during the very cold days but the bees acclimate very well as long as they are healthy bees. The queens will lay some during warm days above 50 degrees and the bees will fly. Be watchful of Tracheal Mite issues; bees staggering around on the ground outside the hive; the wings appear to be deformed. The old timers used to make up grease patties for Tracheal mite control. A few dead bees outside the hive is not unusual.  On a nice warm day above 50 degrees with little to no wind take a peek into the hive to see if the cluster is about the same size as previously and that there is still adequate stored or supplemental food source available. If the hive has died out, take it down and clean it up for use later. DO NOT feed any pollen/protein patties at this time of year. For screened bottom boards, be sure to remove the debris/inspection board and scrape it clean.

Now is the time to repair or build beekeeping equipment for use in the spring. Remove old black/dark foundation replace with new. It is best to wait until close to the time the new foundation is to be used to place the wax foundation into the frame. The wax foundation can become dried out and cracked and the bees will not work it. This is true for waxing of plastic foundation—wait until closer to the time that you need to put it into use.

Now is the time to order packages and Nuc’s and queens for spring—it may be too late. Most suppliers will have taken most orders by now for delivery in April and early May.