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Discussion Starter #1
I finally found bees (after emailing and calling several places). I'm going to set up my order this afternoon but wanted to know if hiving my new pkg around April 18 is too late? We were told in class to order our bees immediately (that would have been Monday), unfortunately I couldn't connect with a single place that had any until now and I didn't order equipment yet because I wanted to make sure I'd get my bees. We were also told it was best to hive them in early April but does a couple weeks later make a big diff?
 

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Late April is fine. One of the packages I ordered last year came late April and they did fine. Got about 30# of surplus from them and as of last week they looked good.
Nuke
 

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Are there any flowers blooming or trees budding/flowering yet ? A few weeks early couldn't hurt, however, have the syrup & pollen ready just in case. Buying packages means that they have to become acclimated with their new queen, build comb and start raising brood in those first several weeks on minimal sources.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
No flowers or budding as of yet. I was surprised they told us to get our bees so early because the last risk of frost in this area tends to be around May 15, and wouldn't frost hurt a new colony? We even face the possibility of more snow, if past weather conditions are any indication. So far we are holding steady in the 40's but I haven't seen anything budding or flowering yet.
 

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Frost wouldn't hurt a Nuc, however I'd contemplate the reluctance of packaged bees not having anything to forage on. They start almost from ground zero. 2:1 syrup may be OK, however the night time temps dip below freezing and the bees may not feed then. Opening up the hives at cold temps may do more harm than good. We should be seeing things starting to sprout very soon. My tulips and siberian squills are peeking through the dirt but are still a good week or two away from flowering. Up there, there should be plenty of basswood, willow, red maples and flowering pear trees, right ?
 

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What can you do other than feed and if you're lucky, start them on drawn foundation - if we all could have anticipated our losses this winter, perhaps an earlier start would have been possible.
 

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When I looked for an area to place my bees/colonies, I drove around the countryside to observe the landscape, and make a decision as to what early, native,. and wild plants would be available to the bees for pollen and nectar. I also tried to see what might be available throughout the year.

I don't know what resources are available in your part of Minnessota. Around here, Silver maple is blooming and the [hardy] alders/willows are about to. It's amazing how the bees can find their sources,. but they do. You should have a lot of plants blooming by April 18th or so.

I haven't installed a package during the second/third week of April; mostly during the last week. If I were to do that, I would use a gallon plastic baggie, with sugar syrup right over the cluster so that it stays relatively warm. You need a shim for that though, like for the Mite-Away pads. :rolleyes:

It will work out OK. In April, with the sun high in the sky, the days much longer,..the snow will melt quickly after a storm,..all is well. :)
 

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Pixie, go to the back of the "Beekeeping in Northern Climates" book you received in class. There is a "bloom chart" in the back of there specifically for the MSP area. Look at it and you will see that the fruit trees, on average, don't start blooming until Mid-April followed shortly by the dandelions. Your bees will be fine. The average April temp in our area is 50 plus degrees. I hived my first package in 30 degree April weather and they did fine in 2008. We are very luck to have bee plants blooming from April through September or October.
Relax, you will develop a new appreciation of your neighborhood this summer as you see plants and trees blooming - because now you have a stake in their success. I have derived an unexpected pleasure in watching the progression of blooms through the last two summers. Adrian.
 

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Not too late at all. Feed them to stimulate pulling wax.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks everyone~its good to know that I can become a beekeeper this year and not wait til next.

Adrian, thanks for pointing out the "bloom chart", I didn't even realize it was there. I kept reading the the first ten pages over and over :doh: Lots of good info in the back.
 
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