Re: Southeastern Alert - Check your hives early this season
I've been aggressively working my bees every time we have temps in the 60 degree range. This included several days around December 20th when I removed all second brood chambers leaving only a single deep with a half full shallow super. I alternated full and empty frames in the shallows. My colonies have all been checked over the last week and the lightest have been fed plus most of the strongest have had a jar of 1:1 syrup to stimulate brood rearing. Pollen intake was sporadic in January but very heavy for the last 2 days. I have softball size patches of brood in most colonies and the largest colonies have about twice as much.
I am currently preparing frames with foundation to fill a second deep for all colonies with expectation that I will split at least 2 for 1 in late March. This area has strong early pollen but very little nectar until mid April so I will continue stimulus feeding to boost brood levels as much as possible prior to the split.
This is the first time in 8 years that I have worked my bees this aggressively. If I had not, I am certain there would be problems with colonies running out of honey and dying. With the extra winter effort, I expect to have full size colonies for the main flow which starts about April 20th.
NW Alabama, 47 years, 22 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest