Central Alabama Beekeepers Association
Beekeepers What to do now
Spring is coming early and Beekeeping season has begun.
The weather this year looks a lot like last year. We are running a couple of weeks ahead of a normal season.
I saw drones in all my hives on January 10, which is really early for drones in our area.
We have had a warm winter and our bees have found a lot of pollen, but have flown many days without much food to gather.
The immediate concern for beekeepers is this.
The bees are responding to the weather and doing what comes naturally to them.
We as managers of bees, have to pay close attention to them. Feed them if they are low on food and give them plenty of room. Do not crowd them.
What I mean by this is, as the bees move up in the supers.....Check for queen cells every 10 days and if most of the bees are in the top supers reverse them
so they can continue to move upward into empty frames.
If you have been feeding a lot of sugar syrup, make sure they are not honey bound. ( Band of honey across the top of the frames which they do not cross.)
If they are in a single brood box and expanding, give them another super.
Hopefully you have some drawn comb, it is worth gold this time of year.
You can insert this in place of the honey bound frames to allow the queen to continue to lay.
I say again, Do not let them get crowded or they will swarm.
If you use the Checker board method, now is the time to do it.
It takes 16 days to produce a queen, so begin to check for queen cells every 10 days because if circumstances like weather, etc., prevent you from checking them,
you will have an extra few days of grace.
If you find queen cells when you do the checks you must cut all the cells (temporary fix ) or split them to prevent the swarm.
Better to have split hives than lost bees, besides you can always put them back together before the main honey flow.
Jim Davis gave a very good talk about splits at our February CABA meeting and I hope you all got to hear him.
All his methods are sound.
I wish everyone success this year.