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Author Topic: Spring time procedure...  (Read 570 times)
Buzzax
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Location: Northwestern PA


« on: March 12, 2012, 10:31:52 PM »

Hello all,

Beginning my second year.  Once the weather is a little more favorable I can't wait to really get in there and say hello to my girls!  Went into winter with 3 hives...so far viewing the activity...spring time is looking like survival rate is 3 for 3!!!!  Now to my actual question.  I over wintered with 2 deeps each and candy boards to hopefully give them the best chance.  Now that spring is almost here what is the protocol???  Do I take the colony back down to 1 deep???  I have peeked in and 2 were up into the candy boards while one never even went into the stores in the second deep.  I haven't found really anything on this topic.  The only thing I have read about was reversing.  So any and all opinions or successful experiences are welcome.

Thanx,
Buzzax
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The Bix
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Location: Arapahoe County, Colorado


« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2012, 11:07:50 PM »

Buzzax,

Where are you located?
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Buzzax
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« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2012, 07:08:25 AM »

Northwest PA
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beyondthesidewalks
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Location: Very rural Navarro County, TX

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« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2012, 10:20:32 AM »

Congratulations on making it to your second season.

My standard spring regimen is to inspect, do a little swarm prevention, I always replace  the oldest or worst looking comb in each box, replace broken/rotting woodenware, clean out any mice and their damage, change out the bottom board with a clean one.  I always leave my two hive bodies in place and super accordingly(sometimes reversing).  If you're the treating type you want to get that done before the flow.  Generally, my goal is to get my hives ready for increase or honey production.  Swarm trapping has become my favorite way to increase so I mostly aim at honey production.  My honey demand is greater than my production.  Results of inspections determine if I need to take any other special measures.

If I see swarm cells I split, once, twice or more depending on what I'm after that year.  I have split, let them make their new queens and then recombined for honey production.  I NEVER cut out swarm cells because I see that as the perfect way to end up queenless.  Most beekeepers are after these same goals but the big difference is when we do them and the nuances based on local flows and temperatures.  I'm sure someone will have an addition or two to my comments. Smiley
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The Bix
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« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2012, 01:28:08 PM »

Buzz,

I'm a little more experienced than you, but not much...and there are others who are far more qualified to add their thoughts... but I'll give it my thoughts anyway.

Other than the altitude factor, I think you and I are in a similar situation as far as nectar flows and hence, swarms.  I think that the most important factor, especially for the first two hives you described is to make sure they have enough stores to get to the nectar flow.  At this point, I would think that they need to have 4 or 5 frames of honey left.  If they don't you're probably going to have to supplement them.

You have to start thinking about avoiding conditions for swarming.  Are they bringing in any pollen?  If so, the queens are probably laying well, and, you need to keep on top of the amount of room the queen has to lay.  This would be especially important for the colony that hasn't gone into the upper deep yet.  If the queen has run out of room to lay and she's surrounded by honey, you may lose a swarm (I think it's still a bit early for that in NW PA, but something to stay on top of anyway).  If you have some drawn comb, consider adding a frame into the brood area to provide the queen more room to lay.  If no drawn comb, perhaps you can exchange some of the empties from the two hives for frames of surplus honey from the other.  If you do that, make sure you shake/brush all the bees off any frames before you transfer.

I hope this helps and would like to hear updates from you as I have a colony that is in a similar condition as your third one.  It would be good to compare notes.
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The Bix
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Location: Arapahoe County, Colorado


« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2012, 01:34:29 PM »

Buzz, check out what FRAMEshift had to say on my management question (similar situation to your third hive).

http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,36377.0.html
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