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We've had a nice wave of beautiful weather and the bees are out and about. I took the opportunity to check all hives yesterday afternoon around 1pm.

Unbelievable! All 5 hives are not only still alive but looking strong and healthy. I'm shocked because 1 hive's cover blew off during cold weather and was off for an unknown period of time. I thought they were goners for sure. The other hive I was concerned about was a small nuc that I created when I decided to "bank" a queen that I might have pinched. It took all summer to get the numbers up but they're doing well. Nice long beautiful dark bees. I'm attributing my success to a few factors, but being least of all scientific I have no real data. Only my past experiences.

1) mild winter
2) Michael Palmer Queens
3) Api Life Var
4) Small cell

I use the Api because I have a few hives that I'm transitioning over to small cell. I'm really excited about this coming season. I've become adept at keeping strong hives with healthy bees, but have yet to be successful at proper spring management to control swarming. 2 of my hives are 4 years old, 2 are 3 years old! I'm hoping this year I'll have the time and energy to manage and maybe get a sweet honey harvest.

As my husband stated yesterday "I think that woodchuck lied!" Spring is 4 weeks away and I for one can't wait! :D
 

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Good to hear the hives are doing good.

Did you write down when your hives swarm, and what had been blooming? Michael Palmer advocates putting on a couple supers like at the end of March, and then he reverses his boxes right before the dandelion flow. (His first main flow.)

I don't know how far away from him you are though.

Splitting is one of the easiest ways to prevent swarming. Then, once the bees are past the swarm stage, you can combine the two hives back together to make one large hive again.
 
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