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I need some beekeeping advice. I just moved from western WA where it is almost impossible to keep a bee alive over winter, as they can barely come out before April because of the endless months of rain, to south Idaho/northern Nevada which is considered high dessert. We are having an unusually warm winter and my bees have been flying around for weeks in the 50-60-something degree weather, confused and wondering where all the flowers are. I have one jar of essential oil sugar syrup by them to stimulate the queens to lay in 2 of the hives as they got very small over the winter, but I think they'll make it now. They have just gobs of honey as I had some die offs and extra honey around. I just put out the syrup because I know the honey won't stimulate the queens to lay.

So my question is, 2 of my hives are just booming. This has never happened to me, to come out of winter with so many bees. I don't know when to put an extra super on them to provide space. Will they try to swarm if they are booming and cramped, but there are no blooms out yet? And once I see the first bloom, when should I place the first super?
 

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Rosie

Syrup in itself won't stimulate the queen to increase brood activity. After reading your post my best advice would be to seek out an experienced local beekeeper in your area to ask questions regarding normal spring , summer and fall activities based on the local climate and flora. There are generally local groups and clubs that could perhaps be a resource tool for you. If your bees have a lot of honey on them as you state then there is no need to be feeding them open syrup. I'm guessing your bees, are bringing in pollen by now and starting to expand the brood nests. If you're not experienced in opening up hives for spring inspection and evaluation then find someone who's willing to assist you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Rosie

I only used the syrup because an experienced beekeeper told me it would stimulate the queen to lay and I nearly lost the 2 small hives, but they have rebounded nicely. I have no option for a more experienced local beekeeper. I live 100 miles form the nearest town to the north, and to the south, and both are very different from where I live. We are higher elevation and dependent on more wild forage than the farming communities north and south. I have looked at all the hives. They should have the pollen store needed and closely available to them for brood rearing. Should I add a super to give them the room, even though there are no blooms out yet? Or do I risk chilling them with the extra internal space they would have to keep warm? Our days are warming to 50-60+ degrees, but often below freezing at night.
 

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Rosie:

Even if these people are not near you, they may know of other beekeepers in your area (or similar environment) that would be willing to talk on the phone or email with you.

http://northernnevadabeekeepersassociation.org/

Are you living on the Duck Valley Reservation? One of my aunts is a member of the Shoshone Tribe (though she lives in Portland, OR.)

Good luck with your bees in their new home.

Enj.
 

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I have had a booming of bees coming out of winter too. I have not added a box or super yet because I have not seen nectar coming in. I have pollen but the nectar is short coming right now. Mine are full of brood as of 3 days ago so I plan on adding boxes in a few days or a week. I would like to see some fresh wax being built before I did but I will add a box as long as the forecasted weather is warm enough not to chill brood for next week. This may not help but it is what I will be doing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Enj.[/QUOTE]

I am on the Duck Valley Reservation! Only moved out here from WA 8 months ago. DRASTICALLY different beekeeping here, but my bees absolutely love it here. Never had such healthy and productive hives. Mites have been greatly reduced, without my intervention. There was a beekeeper a few years ago out here, and I would give my right arm to get some advice from him, but I guess he moved to Hawaii. I know for a fact there isn't a beekeeper closer than 75 miles north and 100 miles south. I've done a lot of checking. There is one in Bruneau (75 miles north on the Snake River) and I have been meaning to try to find out how to contact him, and recently I've gotten hold of a number for a beekeeper in Elko, NV. I appreciate the link you sent. I have checked in the past, but for some reason did not see that there was a northern nevada association. I'm just not sure if the hives will swarm without a nectar or pollen source. I don't think so, but they can only get so cramped in there. Would you add a super if the nights are still below freezing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
What do you mean by "liking to see some fresh wax being built"? All my frames are drawn, so where would I be looking for fresh wax? Just the typical bur comb? What would you consider warm enough to not chill the brood?
 

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I look for bur comb. It will be white. They draw fresh comb when there is a steady supply of nectar. You can always add and check back in a week or 2 to see if they draw any out. Temperatire of brood chilling would be relative to size but in your case I would guess that it would have to be cold for an extended period.. Say 2-3 days below 50 and lows into freezing. If thee cluster can't keep the brood warm that you will have to worry. Some of these late cold spells won't affect me at all because the time they ha e to cluster is minimum
 

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I need some beekeeping advice. I just moved from western WA where it is almost impossible to keep a bee alive over winter, as they can barely come out before April because of the endless months of rain, to south Idaho/northern Nevada which is considered high dessert. We are having an unusually warm winter and my bees have been flying around for weeks in the 50-60-something degree weather, confused and wondering where all the flowers are. I have one jar of essential oil sugar syrup by them to stimulate the queens to lay in 2 of the hives as they got very small over the winter, but I think they'll make it now. They have just gobs of honey as I had some die offs and extra honey around. I just put out the syrup because I know the honey won't stimulate the queens to lay.

So my question is, 2 of my hives are just booming. This has never happened to me, to come out of winter with so many bees. I don't know when to put an extra super on them to provide space. Will they try to swarm if they are booming and cramped, but there are no blooms out yet? And once I see the first bloom, when should I place the first super?
Just remember heat rises, if your afraid it could till be plenty cool, just put super on bottom until your bloom starts, if they need the room they will work down into it
 

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Rosie,
You need to be careful in trying to get the queen laying already. You have made it through Nov. Dec. and Jan. The toughest months are Feb. Mar. and Apr. That is when your bees will starve to death. Keep a close eye on them. If the queen lays to much now with a a small cluster they will not be able to keep it warm. It is common here in South East Idaho to get below zero in Feb. and first part of March. We too have had abnormally warm weather. Don't get fooled though, it can still get very cold for the next month and a half. I have mountain camped all my hives and even fed a little syrup these last few warm weeks. Hoping that they are storing some inside the cluster for when the cold comes back. They can have honey an inch away and still starve because they can't move the cluster to get to it. When I want my queens to start laying here in another month or two I will hit them with some pollen patties to get them started. Hope you find success in your new area. I would not add any supers at this time. Wait until the dandelions are coming on and just watch them. They are not going to swarm in 40-50 degree weather. They like all those bees to keep the hive warm.
 

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Welcome to Bee Source, Rosie!

Yes, at this time when they are booming and brooding up it is advisable
to put another hive box on to give them more space. If they can cover their broods then everything is fine. To put another box you have to assess the hive situation at this critical time.
At 80% bee capacity in a hive is when you need to add another hive box.
Don't worry, your bees know where to find the food source. They are only confused for a few days to find their way around. So if you see some bees carrying the fresh pollen in on a warm sunny day then they have found foods.
 
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