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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have gotten around to opening the hood on about half of my hives in the past couple of weeks. These hives are LOADED with bees and brood! Two deeps, three deeps....bees top to bottom and queens laying like it was April. Full frames of new pollen. I'm not bragging....just nervous. I don't ever recall them booming like this so early. Most still have a fair supply of honey but our nectar flow doesn't usually begin until the end of March....at the earliest. I haven't (and don't) given them any pollen subs. It has been an unusually cold winter...so this is far from what I expected. I surely hope they know something I don't.
On the other side...one deadout, one queenless (but still a good population of bees), one drone layer and one failing queen (she's laying a good pattern but very small amount and she is physically 'wobbley').
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
No sp...I haven't taken hives south in a long time. They're local.
 

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I've seen a lot of activity with my hives too, the populations look strong. I'm gonna take a good look this weekend.
 

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I've seen a lot of activity with my hives too, the populations look strong. I'm gonna take a good look this weekend.
rome's pretty close, just over an hour away from here. i've got some family there. saturday and sunday are looking good for inspecting, can't wait.
 

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At this stage are you going to split them or wait for them to possibly swarm?
I would make some grafts from this good early laying queen. Don't you think so?
 

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That's really exciting. I hope they continue to do well. It's so nice that spring is nearly here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
To be fair....although my overwintering losses tend to be very low it isn't because my bees are wonderful or I'm a spectacular beekeeper. I cull before cold weather (close to 10% last fall). I don't go into winter with dinks, spotty laying queens or any other obvious weakness. I always hated finding spring deadouts with mildewed comb from sitting for weeks without bees. And then there is the springtime rush to get it all cleaned up at the same time making splits, adding supers and all the other 60 hour/week stuff. I try to clean them before cold and return them to the beeyards before I get crushed by everything else. Reload them with bees in the spring while I'm in the yards. It doesn't always work smoothly but it is my method....not recommending it for anyone else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
That's pretty much it sp. By late August my extracting supers have been pulled. I do some mite testing and begin treating. This is pretty much my last 'down to the bottom board' inspections for the year. Culling? My theory is ....'when in doubt, shake 'em out'. I have a fellow who works with me on occasion. He used to walk up to me with a frame in his hand and ask 'does this one need shaking out?'. And without looking up I'd reply 'if you have to ask....you don't need to ask.' Any more, I will just hear him shaking bees out at the other end of the yard....no questions asked.
The equipment comes home, a rinse and brush with chlorox/water. Repairs and paint as needed....then during the winter I try to return the boxes to the yards. During my springtime inspections/splits....some of the splits wind up in those boxes.
I'm sure that there are better methods....but the great majority of the work I do alone and it is the only way I can fit everything in.....and even at that, much doesn't get done.
 
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