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I have made it thru a summer after starting with 3 nucs in the spring. A-lot has been learned however I now realize I know nothing about coming out of the winter with bees, and the issues to be faced. Crofter pointed me to Snelgrove (M.W. Shaw), and I have been reading Walt Wright articles here on BeeSource.
I am interested in what you think a beginner should be reading about and possibly sources of reading material you have found useful for this time of the season.

Thank-you..
Tim
 

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Hmmm interesting question. I would actually say the Randy Oliver Scientific Beekeeping site is the next step.

A hive that is coming out of winter and starting to brood up is a very different creature from a nuc (or package). The hive can very easily "switch" into the swarming state, and it is hard to switch it out of there without doing a split.

I found Walt's Wright's theory on how bee are looking to reproduce once a certain point in the season is reached, and that the urge will pass (so to speak), very interesting. And I was trying to use his insight that bees prefer to stop storing honey once they have created a honey dome, and instead turn that nectar into baby bees. I did not succeed though.

Walt's approach seems to assume that you have drawn honey supers. If you don't, his insights are harder to apply. The brood nest was not meant to be "checkerboarded", so take care with adding too much space to a brood nest.

I have found beekeeper meetings to be helpful in learning about the post-first-year phase of beekeeping. However, because there are so many ways to conduct one's apiary, there isn't a one size fits all approach for what to do your second year.

Do you want lots of honey? then you need to maximize the bees' perception of space, without causing the broodnest to become so spread out that the bees lose "steam". This usually involves adding supers, undrawn if that's what you have. Keep in mind that a hive with a workforce that is fewer than 2 very full deeps will often not make much progress drawing out comb...

Do you want more hives? In some ways this is easier! Though there is a lot to think about for how you will be getting queens - raising them yourself, or purchasing, and what kind and from who in that case.

Your hive can make honey or bees, but typically not both unless it is very strong.

i am enjoying books like A year's work in a out-apiary, by Doolittle, written 100 or so years ago. Pdf is here: http://www.honeybee.bz/Doolittle.pdf
Frank Pellett has some books available via e-book too. Curiously, aside from the Wicwac press books, we don't have as many modern authors talking about beyond your first year of beekeeping.
 

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Oh also there are 3 books worth a read from Thomas Seeley - Honey bee Democracy, Wisdom of the Hive, and Following the Wild bees. The first two are summaries of his and other seminal research, so they are pretty dense but not intended for an academic audience. Following the Wild Bees is about beelining and is both first-person account and how-to guide. ;)
 
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