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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I’ve just survived my first year beekeeping (so far) and having a hard time finding basic information on what to do in your second year. I’ve read a bit about reversing the boxes in the spring but not much more beyond that. When should this be done? I’ve heard that you should do it again in a couple of months? Is this correct? Also, if there are still honey stores leftover from winter should I leave it? Remove/harvest it? My hive currently consists of 4 - 8 frame medium boxes. I went into the winter with approximately 2 boxes of bees and 2 of capped honey. Should I remove a box in the spring? Provide empty frames again? Empty box with frames? I’ve checked and they still have pollen patties. I’m wondering when should I remove those and begin sugar water. Finally, when should I treat for mites? I used formic pro in the fall and have some more I would like to use to keep on top of mite control and before it expires. What is the earliest this can be done? Should I wait until they are bringing in pollen? It got up to 50 degrees in Michigan yesterday and seeing the bees flying around got me really excited :)

Thanks in advance!
 

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What I would do in your situation:

Don't sweat reversing too much, its not that important, you can skip it if you like. There may be a benefit to doing it, but you risk breaking the cluster and all sorts of things like that. If you are nervous, skip it. I have also never heard of doing another reverse later in the year.

As for honey stores, did you feed sugar last fall before the season ended? If you did, that honey is now contaminated with table sugar and you'd be better off leaving it in the hive.

Giving bees drawn comb is always better than foundation, if you are using mediums, get them up to at least three boxes of brood chamber, and then anything above that you can super it with a queen excluder when the dandelions start to bloom en masse.

Leave the pollen patties on and you can start feeding 1:1 whenever you'd like, just put an empty box on top of the inner cover and put a jar feeder in the inner cover hole if you have one. If your hive is heavy when you pull up on the back with one hand, you probably don't need to feed.

Formic pro is very sensitive to temperature, too hot and it will kill your bees, too cold and it won't vaporize enough to do anything. Whether you go with one strip or two strip treatment, you need to have temps above 50 degrees for at least 1 week after you put the strips on. I would avoid formic this time of year, it is too cold. A few rounds of Oxalic acid would be my choice since it is not temperature sensitive.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
What I would do in your situation:

Don't sweat reversing too much, its not that important, you can skip it if you like. There may be a benefit to doing it, but you risk breaking the cluster and all sorts of things like that. If you are nervous, skip it. I have also never heard of doing another reverse later in the year.

As for honey stores, did you feed sugar last fall before the season ended? If you did, that honey is now contaminated with table sugar and you'd be better off leaving it in the hive.

Giving bees drawn comb is always better than foundation, if you are using mediums, get them up to at least three boxes of brood chamber, and then anything above that you can super it with a queen excluder when the dandelions start to bloom en masse.

Leave the pollen patties on and you can start feeding 1:1 whenever you'd like, just put an empty box on top of the inner cover and put a jar feeder in the inner cover hole if you have one. If your hive is heavy when you pull up on the back with one hand, you probably don't need to feed.

Formic pro is very sensitive to temperature, too hot and it will kill your bees, too cold and it won't vaporize enough to do anything. Whether you go with one strip or two strip treatment, you need to have temps above 50 degrees for at least 1 week after you put the strips on. I would avoid formic this time of year, it is too cold. A few rounds of Oxalic acid would be my choice since it is not temperature sensitive.

Good luck!
Thank you so much for your reply! This very, very helpful!
 

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Although I do not manage my bees anything like Mr. Bush of Nebraska, you might find his posts informative.. I would strongly suggest some form of swarm control.

Crazy Roland
 

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You might want to join a local bee club, get a mentor, and attend their Bee School. You will learn a great deal and if you hook up with an old beek you might be able to get a lot of experience helping them. There are several YouTube sites that can also answer some of your questions but the actual handling experience would help you build confidence, Beekeeping is governed by locality so things you read may not always apply.

Visit: scientificbeekeeping,com AND the David Cushman website for plenty of good reading
 

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I would not treat with formic acid before april due to the risk of queen loss and being hard to replace before then.

How heavy is the hive (or how much stores do you have left)? If you have several frames left I would not worry about feeding right now. If they are light on stores you want to consider feeding. I would leave what they have for the spring and next winter. A lot of hives are lost in the spring due to starvation from building up and running out of food before stuff starts blooming.

I would not add or remove boxes until they expand and mostly fill 3/4 of the boxes they have now. When they fill that much I would start adding suppers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I would not treat with formic acid before april due to the risk of queen loss and being hard to replace before then.

How heavy is the hive (or how much stores do you have left)? If you have several frames left I would not worry about feeding right now. If they are light on stores you want to consider feeding. I would leave what they have for the spring and next winter. A lot of hives are lost in the spring due to starvation from building up and running out of food before stuff starts blooming.

I would not add or remove boxes until they expand and mostly fill 3/4 of the boxes they have now. When they fill that much I would start adding suppers.
Good Info! Thanks for your reply!
 
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