Illinois
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Thread: Illinois

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
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    Byron, Il, USA
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    354

    Default Illinois

    Far Northern Illinois, couple of hours west of Chicago. Saw the first crocus flowers today while cleaning the kitchen herb garden. First flower I have see this spring. No dandelions yet, but they are greening up. Weather is predicted highs in the 50s, lows in the lower 30s for the next 5 days.

    I took off the winter wraps this week on a 70-degree day from my one surviving hive and replaced the empty lower 10-deep with drawn comb and some honey left from a dead hive. I figured that freezing and thawing outdoors for the last two months after the bees died should have killed off most any bug in it and it would be safe to give to the live hive. The live hive is increasing numbers, and had a few frames of honey left in the medium super. I didn't look in the second 10-deep to see if there was brood but I assume so since the numbers are up from last time I checked. Didn't want to disturb the queen if she was busy! Swapped out the bottom board and top cover with clean, freshly painted ones so I can take the old one and repaint it.

    Getting anxious to put out bait hives in hopes of catching some swarms. Anyone with experience in this area tell me when the swarms usually start? I am assuming end of April, but don't really know.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Fenton, MI
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    393

    Default Re: Illinois

    Quote Originally Posted by AR1 View Post
    Getting anxious to put out bait hives in hopes of catching some swarms. Anyone with experience in this area tell me when the swarms usually start? I am assuming end of April, but don't really know.
    https://www.beesource.com/forums/show...21092-Illinois
    The question is what to do, and the answer, as always, is complicated by a muddle of reason, emotion, and doubt.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
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    Byron, Il, USA
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    354

    Default Re: Illinois

    Saw that, but most of the replies are from a lot farther south than I am. It's a six-hour drive on a good highway from where I am to Southern IL.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Rosebud Missouri
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    4,012

    Default Re: Illinois

    AR1
    Unless you are worried about wear and tear on your traps, It does not hurt to put them out early. You can catch nothing if they are not out and it does take some time to place them. I put mine out proby two months early (lot I leave out all year).

    Last year my first swarm was may 6 and I had my traps out march 1st. If they are out, then I can not get side tracked with other things and forget to get them out.

    Just thought I would throw that out.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
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    5,400

    Default Re: Illinois

    I too like to get them out early. Although I have never caught a swarm earlier than the first week of May. I always put them out early to mid April!

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Byron, Il, USA
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    354

    Default Re: Illinois

    Sounds like a good idea. I'll try to get it done end of this week then, when I have a few days off.

    Illinois beeks might find this page useful, or at least interesting. The Illinois State Climatologist runs a blog with some good info. I take any long range forecast with a grain of salt, but the far south of Illinois is predicted to have drought this summer. April-June sounds nice though.

    https://climateillinois.wordpress.com/

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Red Bud, IL, USA
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    1,802

    Default Re: Illinois

    The drought maybe coming to southern IL but not this week. The false spring has the hives brooding up, things are now starting to bloom and the mud made things tough for getting to a couple swarm trap locations. It's the earliest I've hung traps but I'm thinking swarm season is going to take off once the rains stop. Dang bees just will not read what the book says.
    “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Kankakee, IL
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: Illinois

    Yes, that warm weather also got me moving this last week.
    It got up to 80° last Wednesday and I figured it was time to remove the wrap and mouse guard. Several days after that I reversed the boxes and installed a mason jar feeder.
    No dandelions, but I'm seeing other flowers starting to bloom and I didn't want to wait to reverse the boxes and risk tearing open some drone brood.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
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    Byron, Il, USA
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    354

    Default Re: Illinois

    Got 3 people from work to take swarm boxes. One wants me to get rid of the bees in his house.
    It's funny. I have never heard much about bees in walls until last year when I started keeping, and now people are telling all about their 'Home' beehives. Two this week, just in my little group at work.

  11. #10
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    Feb 2017
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    Byron, Il, USA
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    Default Re: Illinois

    Put up 7 swarm traps on dad's farm today. That's where I keep my one surviving hive. Cracked it open for a minute to see live bees, too cold for flying apparently, about 46 degrees and overcast. Still predicting night weather down in the lower 30s for the next few days, and still no dandelions!
    One swarm trap is an actual 10-deep, placed near my hive. One is wood, made of old barn boards with a frame of old brood comb. That one is sitting on top of an old combine at the edge of the woods. The others are experimental. I took a bunch of old 5-gallon buckets and cut slots at the bottoms for entrances, tossed in a bit of old comb and a few drops of lemon grass oil, and hung them by the handles. I put discs of cardboard under the lids to give the bees something other than plastic to work on. We'll see how that works! Those buckets are scattered around the farm buildings and in fencerow trees and the edge of the woods from deer stands.

    I also put one in my own back yard, nestled among the peach trees where hopefully the neighbors can't see it. They were cool about the bees last year when I had the bees in a more open spot, but why risk it. The trees will block line of sight and keep the bees calm too.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
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    Byron, Il, USA
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    Default Re: Illinois

    Forsythia is blooming now, and a few wild plums. Dandelions everywhere.

    I spent about half an hour this morning just sitting next to my hive and watching the bees in the warm sun. Numbers are still low, but appear to be increasing, or maybe it is just the warmer weather making it look like there are more bees. They were hauling in big baskets full of some bright orange pollen, which I was glad to see. They have plenty of left over honey, but will need pollen to make babies.

    They were not defensive to me, but it was funny to watch them head-butting a big fly that was hanging out at the lower entrance for the whole time I was there. A giant black ant went in and came back out a few minutes later. I smashed it.

    Time to get a bunch more swarm traps out. Several people have volunteered to put them up at their homes, so I need to get them distributed.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Byron, Il, USA
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    354

    Default Re: Illinois

    SO much is blooming it's hard to keep track, plums and peaches are in full bloom, apples look ready to start, and some crabs are already going. My back yard is a carpet of dandelions and violets. Lilacs are even getting ready to pop open, smelling sweet already.
    I opened my hive yesterday even and found the queen for the first time, a light tan colored girl with no stripes. That surprised me since last fall and this spring most of the bees were dark, almost no yellow striping. Now I am getting some yellow striped bees too. It is way early to have superceeded queens, I would have thought, but this is only my second year, so who knows. She has started laying, and there is some capped brood, but not much yet. I hope she picks up her game!
    I spent the last week making new deeps and telescoping covers. No need for them all yet, so I plan to put them out for traps. So far three people at work have taken traps home, and a couple more have offered to take one each. One enthusiastic guy took two.
    My niece lost her bees over winter, so she is gifting me with one of her top-bar hives, full of comb. So that will make a nice trap in my back yard too. I advised her to keep her other two at her house, and put a few drops of lemon grass oil in them on Easter for her, so maybe with luck she can get a few bees the easy way. If not, I'll hopefully have a split I can give her.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Kankakee, IL
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    32

    Default Re: Illinois

    Things are starting to look good, indeed. There's lots of blooming going on and my bees are loving it. I was very worried for a while and still am but things are looking better. This weather is certainly helping too.
    I'm just going to be hands off for a while and let them do what they do best.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
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    Glen Ellyn, Illinois
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    50

    Default Re: Illinois

    I'm 25 miles west of Chicago. Two of my 4 hives made it through winter and are booming. I began feeding a month ago with pollen paddies and a very little 1:1. I opened one of the hives this morning. Both 10 frame deep brood boxes were full of various stages of larvae and capped brood. There was very little room for the queen to lay so I took 8 frames of eggs/larvae and capped brood and created 2 splits. I don't have a second location to move the splits to so I will have to add more bees if the splits start to weaken. Plenty of drones just hatching out. Several unfinished queen cups. I have 2 supers on both my strong 2nd year hives. Pollen and nectar are coming in fast. I will open the second strong box tomorrow and see if it needs to be split. I also installed 2 new packages from Georgia April 7th. Both packages are doing very well. I started them on drawn comb. The weather seems to be 2 to 3 weeks ahead of normal.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
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    Byron, Il, USA
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    Default Re: Illinois

    Quote Originally Posted by cpekarek View Post
    I'm 25 miles west of Chicago. Two of my 4 hives made it through winter and are booming. I began feeding a month ago with pollen paddies and a very little 1:1. I opened one of the hives this morning. Both 10 frame deep brood boxes were full of various stages of larvae and capped brood. There was very little room for the queen to lay so I took 8 frames of eggs/larvae and capped brood and created 2 splits. I don't have a second location to move the splits to so I will have to add more bees if the splits start to weaken. Plenty of drones just hatching out. Several unfinished queen cups. I have 2 supers on both my strong 2nd year hives. Pollen and nectar are coming in fast. I will open the second strong box tomorrow and see if it needs to be split. I also installed 2 new packages from Georgia April 7th. Both packages are doing very well. I started them on drawn comb. The weather seems to be 2 to 3 weeks ahead of normal.
    Wow, about a half-hour due east of me, and yet so much farther along. My hive has load of honey left over, so they certainly were not starved. Maybe I should have given some patty.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
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    Byron, Il, USA
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    354

    Default Re: Illinois

    I am happy for the wet, cooler weather the last few days. My bees are starting slow, but they do have capped brood. I figure a few days of low outside activity may give them time they need to catch up. With the honey stores they have and the small force of bees I worry about robbing.

    I opened up the top a few days ago to a big surprise. A colony of gigantic black ants was under the top and on the inner cover. I shook them off onto the concrete and stomped all I could find, but a few had returned when I checked them later. I never found one actually in the hive...the bees did not seem particularly defensive, so maybe they were not molesting them. I opened the hive and looked at brood and the queen without even smoking, and they were perfectly pacific.

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Rockford, IL
    Posts
    152

    Default Re: Illinois

    I am in Roscoe, just 15 minutes from you. 4 of 4 made it thru winter and I just uncovered them last week. 2 were swarms from last year that were given to me on May 21 and 23. I suspect we are a bit ahead of schedule due to the warm winter.

  19. #18
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    Feb 2017
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    Byron, Il, USA
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    354

    Default Re: Illinois

    Quote Originally Posted by bjorn View Post
    I am in Roscoe, just 15 minutes from you. 4 of 4 made it thru winter and I just uncovered them last week. 2 were swarms from last year that were given to me on May 21 and 23. I suspect we are a bit ahead of schedule due to the warm winter.
    Hi Bjorn. Roscoe, huh? Not far at all. A guy at work keeps 150 hives in Wisconsin, does the Cali almond trip every spring.

    I am now wondering if we will have early swarms or not. The whole next week is predicted to be rainy and cold. Not sure if that will slow them down or speed them up. If they are all staying indoors and watching TV for the next week, they may feel like moving out of mom's basement sooner and take off for the woods! I suppose it depends on whether they packed enough pollen away the last few weeks to feed brood. I only saw one bee outside the hive today, and it was just walking around.

    Squashed a few more giant black ants on the inner cover. Just stragglers, I hope. I think I got the queen ant last week, since they don't seem to be reproducing, but I'm going to check every few days until they are all gone.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Lake County Illinois
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    288

    Default Re: Illinois

    Hello, I am in Lake Villa and just moved to a new yard. Put my bees in Easter Sunday. Seem to be well.

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
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    Byron, Il, USA
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    354

    Default Re: Illinois

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthernIllinoisPlumber View Post
    Hello, I am in Lake Villa and just moved to a new yard. Put my bees in Easter Sunday. Seem to be well.
    Seems like an appropriate day. New life!
    Lake Villa. Straight north of Chi? Pretty populated area, I'd think. Any neighbor push-back?

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