First timer and spring

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Daniel Y, Mar 4, 2013.

  1. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

    Messages:
    742
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hello all. I was not sure if I should put this is general or 101. so it is here due to a flip of a coin.

    This si my first year keeping bees. 3 months of it I spent thinking I had a pretty good idea of what to do. About 7 months of it has been spent doing an "I dunno but this sounds like a good idea" sort of management. This was caused by many factors. one taking on swarm captures and trap outs and basically scrambling to be able to do it. My focus was distracted from simply keeping a hive for the first year. This had a side efect of not leaving me enough time to be ready for the next thing that came up with my hive and I spent a lot of time noticing what I should have done yesterday rather than figuring out what I wll need to do next week. There was no colossal breakdown due to this. it is jsut not the way I like to do it.

    I still have a couple of moents to go before I get back to territory I have crossed before.

    To help give some idea of time line for our climate. Average last frost is May 15 here in Reno. Our spring weather tends to be mild with cold nights. we will see freezing temps as late as July at times. first week of June is typical but days will get into the high 60 or even lows 70's long before that. Basically our springs are slow in coming and often we have more of an abrupt end as summer begins and not much of a real spring.

    Okay so my question is. I have a list of things I know I should do for spring. what I am not clear on is when to do them.

    I want to expand the brood nest and break up any remaining honey stores. I have some ideas o nhow I want to do this again i am not sure when. I am chomping at the bit thinikng I need to get with it but still not certain it is to soon. Driving me nuts.

    I also kwno I need to be ready to prevent swarms. hopefully my expansion and breaking up plans will accomplish that also.

    I knwo I need to inspect the queen and be prepared to replace her. is if do that it will most likely be via queens I rear myself.

    Since most of my colnies are nucs or new hives I will also be feeding pollen paties to help with buidl up. I wll also be feedign them sugar water to help with the drawing of comb. This is what I did last year with my first nuc and found it to work well. I do have some ideas on how I might improve on last year but for the most part I am sticking with what I know worked then and will make alterations to it.

    My single biggest probelms is knwoign when. what signs am I lookign for that says it is time to add a box above the brood nest? inspect the queen. add pollen patties and basically get busy about spring build up.

    I have heard that willows and mapels will both produce pollen early. Problem is I have no idea if either are in bloom and might possibly not recognize it if it was right in front of my face. I knwo I have a hive full of bees that jsut boil out of the top right now. and bees will forage on warmer days. They are bringing in something that looks like pollen.

    I have also heard that dandilions blooming mark teh start of something. Now that I can observe but am not real clear just what it is suppose to be the sign for.

    Overall my impression is that with all the maple blooming willows blooming and dandelion advice. my bees did not read those posts. I don't see any dandelions and don't expect to for a while yet. but my bees are flying on some days and appear to be foraging. I think I am flying very blind right now. And the instruments have gone out.

    I know there is a part of me that hopes someone says. hey get out there and add some space to that packed hive. break up there honey. there is a queen in there trying to lay brood and has no room. And feed them every moment you can that the temps get high enough. and you should have had pollen patties a week ago. Cause that is about what I am thinking.

    Anyway any guidance you can muster just to help get my head back in the groove will be appreciated.

    Nights still get itno the 30's for us but days are in teh lower to mid 60's abotu half the time. bees are able to fly to some degree every day for the past 3 weeks or more.

    No local bee club is availabel right now. they do not start meetings for another month.
     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

    Messages:
    5,829
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Daniel, beekeeping is such a "local" thing some of your questions are difficult to answer.
    Up here our last frost date is May 20. Right now we are hovering around freezing and starting to see the odd day with temps above that (yay).
    In March when we can actually put a couple of days together where the bees can fly (10 C) I like to actually crack the inner cover, see what's alive (not a frame by frame inspection) and slide in a pollen patty and close things up. I will heft as well to see how stores are.
    Towards the middle of April I will do a few more checks, perhaps even venturing a little further into the hive to properly assess what going on (but it is done quickly).
    May is when I start to do a frame by frame, deciding what can be split, etc. The only way to do a split up here in May is with imported queens, otherwise you are waiting till around mid June.
    As far as bloom, I understand that Maple is a source for bees even before it fully blooms, that is when it is in early bud stage (I could be wrong).
     

  3. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

    Messages:
    3,048
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    daniel-

    beekeeping basics post 1

    page 25....early spring management for overwintered colonies, also can help you with some of your other questions, and includes:
    the colony and it's organization
    beekeeping equipment
    starting with bees
    colony management
    managing maladies (pests, diseases, and control)
    honey production and processing
    pollination
    handling beeswax and pollen trapping
    floral sources

    also:
    the color of pollen

    to help identify what the girls are bringing in at what time of the year.
    willows and maples are early important sources of pollen.
     
  4. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

    Messages:
    742
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Perry, I know local makes a big difference. Add to that that for gardening nothing you do in Reno is typical or usual. They had a saying here that if you have not gardened in Reno. you have not gardened. Navegating spring here is very difficult to say the least. Fruit trees rarely produce fruit because of the very long warm then freeze cycle we get.

    I se comments like when temperatures at night reach XX. here we had one of those two weeks ago and might see another one next week. but we will not get steady XX degree nights ever. We will not get reliable xx degree days until June.

    It is very liely that i will have to jsut do my best to naegate the storm. and that is probably the best way i can put it. It was 71 degrees 2 days ago. yesterday it only got to 50 and that was because the sun came out in the late afternoon. the bees never did fly. today could be 70 again. And the next day it might snow a foot.

    For now any day that feels warm I am puting on sugar water. it is taken off as soon as the temp falls below 55. I did add a second box to my cut out hive full of empty foudnation fraems. I ahd no choice on that one. My biggest hive is the one I am most concerned with. I keep thinkign I should give them more room but don't. I am thinking that the next really warm day they will get a box added above them and teh honey will be checkerboarded on two deeps. this will make that hive 3 deeps tall. The nucs I am not concerned with at the moment. they are in good shape. They do not even fill the boxes they have.

    Also when I did the cut out I found 3 plus fraems of brood in that nest. that was alto more brood than I woudl have thought they would have for this time of year. Bees do a lot more in the cold than I expected. So I know my intuitioin is not dialed in. and I thik that bother me more than anything.

    Above all. I tend to kwo when I know enough to get something done. and right now I know I don't when it comes to the bees. I don't thik the bees are going to swarm or anything. I just don't want to figure out I am behind on the game when I have gotten seriously behind. Finding out I should have done something last week is one thing. last month is another.

    I know, bees are strong and healthy and I am having problems with that. We should all suffer so.

    I think the cut out just sent my anxiety into overdrive or somthing. I am just really pacing the floor the last couple of days. I will continue to set and tap my foot. impatiently.
     
  5. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

    Messages:
    5,829
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    "I am just really pacing the floor the last couple of days. I will continue to set and tap my foot. impatiently."

    Me too. :wink: :thumbsup: :mrgreen:
     
  6. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

    Messages:
    281
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    As you know, I'm a 1st year keep as well. There really is no substitute for a willing local mentor. Put an ad in the paper if you have to or go to the states beekeeper registry to find someone. Then volunteer to help him with his hives while you ask questions. Last year I helped my mentor extract his honey and then we did mite treatments on his hives. He told me so much stuff that I forgot half of it before I got home. I'm bringing a tape recorder next time!

    Edit: Despite what you feel, you did some great things in your first year and should be congratulated!
     
  7. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

    Messages:
    2,060
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Beekeeping timing has to coincide with what is taking place in your area. So we need to time our beekeeping year by events The first is days getting longer This is what will trigger the bees to start raising brood if 1) They have stores of honey and pollen. 2) There are adequate bees to maintain the brood nest temp. The bees will continue to have small amounts of brood if the conditions persist. The second trigger will be the bees being stimulated by early pollen and nectar being brought in the hive. if the bees did not have reserves of pollen and nectar, this could also be when the first brood is being raised. The third is when the the ground has warmed and there have been enough thermal activity to have the first mass blooming of fruit trees and dandelions. this is the first time in the year that the bees will gather more than there daily needs. Before this brood rearing is governed by the stores in the hive. Bees only store pollen to 1/2 the cell depth and then cover the pollen with honey. All that stored pollen will not be beneficial for early brood if it has not been uncapped and the honey stored on top consumed.
    I'm posting a couple of videos from YouTube that are done by Bill Stagg. He is also the bee inspector for our region of the Provence. The videos shed some light on early feeding and timing. As well as making and storing patties.

    Making Pollen Patties Part 1
    [video=youtube;wmFZGhzDkDM]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmFZGhzDkDM[/video]
    Making Pollen Patties Part 2
    [video=youtube;1O6-vp8IfzI]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1O6-vp8IfzI[/video]
     
  8. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

    Messages:
    469
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'm in the exact same boat as you. First spring. From all my research so far I've learned two important things: messing with the brood nest early in the spring is a bad idea and this is the time of year bees are most likely to starve. To elaborate on that: the brood nest is arranged in such a way that the bees are able to cover the brood and keep it warm. Any sort of re-arrangement this time of year could lead to chilled brood. Even inspecting the hive should be avoided other than shining your flashlight down the frames to see what's up. If you feel the hive needs more room, but are not sure, add a box below the existing. That way they don't have to heat empty space overhead. As for feeding, if you fail to supplement, then the bees will just take a couple of weeks longer to build up. Not the end of the world, but might not get you an optimal harvest if your area has big early nectar flows. As the bees start to raise brood they accelerate their stores use and can quickly run out. So just make sure the hives are not light and feed heavily if they are.
     
  9. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

    Messages:
    349
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    If you're having days of 71 degrees, do a full inspection. Start by just watching the activity at the entrance. How busy are they? Bringing in pollen? Flying in and out with a purpose, or just sort of hanging around? Open up the hive and inspect. Look for: brood pattern, brood in all stages, honey and pollen stores, how many frames are covered with bees.

    That will give you the information you'll need to decide if you need to feed or not, if they need more room, or are preparing to swarm. If they're building up nicely, then check every 8-10 days throughout spring for swarm cells.

    Where I live, I use dandelions as the sign that I need to put honey supers on (if I haven't already). As Perry said, beekeeping is very local, and a beek 30 miles from you may be seeing very different thigns with respect to what is blooming and what is going on with their bees.
     
  10. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

    Messages:
    742
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Riverbee, Just to let you know I downloaded that book and rad page 25. It was pretty reassuring since it confirmed most of what my gut was telling me. That feeding is an issue but that sugar water is nto the best choice for the cold snaps. We do give them small amounts of sugar water. maybe a cup. on the warm days. I inspected the nucs jsut when I shoudl have and the way I shoudl have. leaving the nest alone for the most part. I did look at the nest enough to get a good idea of how big it was.

    I need to get pollen patties that is for sure. I don't think they are ready for them just yet but it is gettign close.

    Apisbees I have not been able to watch the videos yet but I wlil . I appreciate the one on making paties. I would rather buy powder and make our own I just want them to stay soft like mega bee does.

    Pistol Pete. I never touch a brood nest. I will manipulate honey and even honey and some pollen like crazy but the nest is sacred. The only time I have taken a frame of brood was to make a trap out and used the brood as a lure for the queen. it didn't work but did result in 16 queen cells. Very warm weather and I was still concerned about loosing the brood on the way to the trap out. Here is what I beleive abotu spring build up. I should (not certain exactly how or when) be able to have the hive in full gear by mid to late May. If last year is anywhere near typical I should have a good flow in June with nectar flow through the summer that sustains the bees but not much more. I know the beekeeper that put my nuc together for me told me it woudl take as long as it takes and he would call me when he thought the nuc was complete. The call came the first week in May and I picked them up on May 10th. It was a box just busting at the seams with bees and a very active queen. It was obvious that both the bees and the queen needed more space. With that as some sort of idea of timing I am thinking I will be feeding giving pollen and basically stimulating bees to start build up in the next two to four weeks. That gives 4 to 6 weeks for the build up to be at full gear. Now that thinking I am not sure is correct at all. The cut out I did indicates to me that bees have already started buidling up a little on their own.

    Indy, it is not so much that we are getting 71 degree days. as we got A 71 degree day. the very next day it rained and never got much above 50. Then yesterday was 63. I woudl say on average for the past 3 weeks the bes ahve been abel to fly each day for abotu 4 hours. On the warmer days it is with purpose. Yesterday was not much more than orientation flights but every hive had mid level activity. We have a day about once a week or so that they are able to fly in the morning and those are the days that they look like a fairly strong mid summer hive. My big hive finished off about a cup of sugar water the other day in about 3 hours. The nucs are in greatest need of feeding so they have sugar on top of the hive. They also get a little sugar water but not much. I realize that water is not the best thing for them this time of year. One nuc took about a cup two days ago the other about half a cup.

    Straiign the honey is turing out to be a slow process. so I wll be taking the crushed comb and all out to the cut out hive and just letting them clean it up. I know I need to get some food back on that hive.

    Otherwise so far I think I am right where I need to be. watching what I need to be watching for and concerned about what I should be concerned with. All of this also confirms that I am doing what I should be when I should be. maybe pushing it just a bit. but I tend to do that.

    I know I have very clear plans when I hit that mid may period. And I am just aching to get back to some familiar seasons. This doing it for the first time stuff begins to get hard after about 10 months. Keeping bees is a lto of work as it is, or can be. but multiply that by about 4 when you add all the reading. homework. planning, replanning. pacing the floor wondering if you should inspect or not inspect and it is outright exhausting. I find myself trying to set down and relax only to get distracted running thorugh every detail looking for something I may have forgotten. I will then go check on the honey draining for the 100th time that hour. Like that is doing any good. after reading this thread and reading the book I was finally able to shut off my head and relax for a while. I am still concerned with how much build up my big hive has going on but am now certain that I will do an inspection on the next warm day. Yesterday got to 62 it is now 34. Today's forecast is for it to be windy and only 54. The rest of the week we are supposed to barely get to 40. Then next Sunday it says we will be back up in the 60's. Regardless of what daytime temps are forecast for. nights fall below freezing. And that is a very typical spring for us. It will keep this up all the way to almost June. There are many many things that can be done to help stabilize it a bit for the bees. putting up wind breaks. doing a bit of enclosing to conserve heat from the earth. Basically just trying to reduce the wild swings between day and night temps.

    Overall I am predicting an early and more abrupt spring than we are used to. I am thining temps will stabalize this year more int eh 50 and 60 much sooner than we are used to. I cannot say why I am predicting this it is just my gut. and I think we are 3 to 4 weeks from that stabalization. Early winter was a beast. I think that late winter will loos some of it's teeth and that warming trends will have more of an effect. I have been sayign this since January and so far I have been correct. this was one of the mildest February's we have had in a long time.
     
  11. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

    Messages:
    742
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Indy, I also need to make a not to myself about that Dandelions. I remember them being mentioned but could not remember what they where the signal for. Honey super, yeah, honey supers. I will ask again when I see dandelions:)
     
  12. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

    Messages:
    3,048
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    "Riverbee, Just to let you know I downloaded that book and rad page 25. It was pretty reassuring since it confirmed most of what my gut was telling me. That feeding is an issue but that sugar water is nto the best choice for the cold snaps. We do give them small amounts of sugar water. maybe a cup. on the warm days. I inspected the nucs jsut when I shoudl have and the way I shoudl have. leaving the nest alone for the most part. I did look at the nest enough to get a good idea of how big it was."

    daniel, you can slip fondant in there, or make your own feed patties, i quit doing it, big pita, now i use these, but dadant and others have similar pre-made feed patties:

    winter patties

    these can be left on until warm enough for sugar syrup.
     
  13. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

    Messages:
    742
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    It has been a while since I started this thread. BTU I had to come back to it. A lot has happened since I started it. In the time since the original psot we have had weeks of warm weather. every day into the high 50's low 60's at worst. and one wek int eh 70's with one day almost 80.

    On March 11th I had done an inspection og my largest hive. the one I ahve had idea for all witner. and fournd it busting att he seams with bees. durign that inspection I added a third deep body of plastic foundation. Breaking many rules I know. And have continue to feed sugar water. except the bees are now up to a quart a day. This will continue unilt this third box is 80% drawn.

    IT was my thinking that if properly times and new foundation is spaced between frames of drawn and filled comb that the bees will take to it. I will not go into how I came to this thinking I will just say it has been due to a lot of observation and conclusions.

    To day I did the first inspection since addign those frames. and what I foudn I coudl nto be more pleased with. every frame of plastic foundation is being drawn to some degree. most of them have brood in them. even if it is just small patches. and that is in the third deep. I did not look into the second deep but I expect it is even further along. this means that my queen has 3 deep boxes of brood goign. not a solid complete filling but not a weak patchy one either. And the hives is full to the top with bees. I will just say I am getting exactly what I expected to. how that will turn out in the long run is yet to be seen. but this is goign to be very huge hive.

    Once the flow does start I expect to add two to three med supers to the top making a deep and three med I am hoping they can fill.

    On another note. My cut out. I inspected it as well. all frames that contained cut out comb have been repaired refilled with honey or brood and the hive is working on three additional frames of plastic foundation. the queen is present and the population is strong. So all is as well as I can hope for that hive.

    I did not manage to get to an inspection of my nucs today. i will do that tomorrow. Mainly I wanted to share the results of my most contemplated manipulations. I am just tickled pink.
     
  14. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

    Messages:
    2,060
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Good news on the cut out Daniel. Keep an eye out for swarm cells in the large hive, they will build up incredibly in the spring flow and the bees will get restless in the weeks before the main flow with not much forage, they will build queen cells and swarm just before the main flow. So you loose the bees that were going to bring in the honey crop.
     
  15. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

    Messages:
    742
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks Apis, Yeah that is the next thing I have never done before. All I can say is I am grateful to only be 2 months away form the date I started. this first time stuff is a lot of work. I also think my season this year is ahead of last year by as much as a month. We are getting some very warm weather here. The groundhog did not lie to us.

    Given that and what I saw last year. you are right. I am right at the beginning of swarm season. I saw a cherry tree in full bloom Friday. Things are popping up all over and I have been seeing blossoms of all sorts. The day after I added this third deep. The 12th I noticed the first dandelions. As I understand it dandelions are supposed to be a first sign to add honey supers. So I suppose that third box could be considered my fist super. it's not why I added it but it is all the same to the bees. At the same time I am also aware I need to be on the watch for the flow to begin. I am not all that sure of my skill in doing that. I know last year my bees filled an entire deep in about two weeks time. I am thinking that was my main flow.

    I am also thinking that avoiding swarms is my last big hurdle before I finish my first full year of beekeeping. I am so relieved to see that. this first year has been fun. but it has also been a ton of work. And no matter how much reading planing reading and replaning I do. there is never any since that I really know what I am doing.


    Okay so swarm prevention is next. and as usually I am not ready for it. I ahve sen a comemtn here and a comment their over the past year. the idea of jsut tipping back the box to check the bottom of frames for cells etc. But I am not sure how reliable that is. I also do not want to rifle thorugh 30 fraems and disturb the brood nest every week to 10 days either. I am not even sure I can simply tip this hive. it is not light.

    Anyway, So i am asking for the nitty grity on swarm prevention. Just like I am someone that has never heard of it. Not so much the why but the how the when, for how long and how often.


    I feel like I just made the last turn in a marathon and got the first view of the finish line.
     
  16. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

    Messages:
    2,060
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    I kind of tackle swarming a little different than others. I want hives that if not attended to will swarm. I don't want hives that are slow to build up. Now because I expect the hives to swarm I divide when it is convenient for me and gives the bees time to replenish the population before the honey flow.
    The first thing put the extra bees in a strong hive to work for you by equalizing the hives move frames of bees and brood to colonies that are weaker. At the start of the dandelion cherry tree bloom I want a hive that is the size of a pollination unit 5 to 6 frames of brood and 8 to 10 frames of bees. any more and they will swarm in May. After the initial spring flow that really stimulates the bees the flow tapers off and the bees will become restless as there is a large population with limited work in the hive to be done. At this time it is not the population of bees that is the reason for swarming but the lack of tasks to be preformed by the bees. Give the bees anything to do and it will reduce the chance of swarming, put in foundation so the bees can draw comb, pull a nuc so they have empty places for more brood, pull honey out of the brood box to maximize the brood laying area.
    After the fruit tree and dandelions are finished I want a hive that is one full box of bees, this will build up to a strong colony with in time for my main honey flow. But at this time I will have 2 boxes of bees that will swarm the 2nd week of June ( a week before the honey flow) if not attended to.
    I break the hive down to 8 frames of brood and 10 frames of bees plus all the returning foragers and place a super of drawn comb over the brood box so the queen can lay the top super over the next 10 days this will give the hive an incredible population boost in 1 months time coinciding with the start of the honey flow. If you are giving the bees foundation to draw you will not want to knock the hive down as much but only pull a nuc out of the hive and replace the frames with foundation.
    Another advantage of equalizing the hives is that it is easy to compare the hives and queens ability. After the hives are equalized the hive should all build up at the same rate, poor queens can easily be identified in hives that are not keeping up to the others. and exceptional queens will become obvious also.
    I am a firm believer in using mated queen for splits and nucs. By placing a mated queen in a hive in 3 to 4 days the queen is released and back laying. A cell you loose 2 weeks brood production. A walk away split and let the bees build from larva you loose 1 months worth of brood. To me it comes down to for the cost of a queen I can have that split or nuc produce a crop of honey that is worth more the cost of the queen.
    Keep in mind that beekeeping is affected by location and the forage in the area. Bees in an urban area have a more continuous flow than hives in rural areas. So your beekeeping practices should coincide with the blooms and flows of the crops in your area. This is where talking to the old time keepers in your local area can be helpful in determining the timing of the flows and dearth's in an area.

    Recap
    Dandelions universal first major spring flow equalize. Take from the strong and give to the hives in need.
    3 week later split. 1 new queen for every hive. If the hive has grown that a divide split or nuc can be removed. If the colony has not grown after getting the brood to equalize use the queen to re-queen the colony. This I want to do 4 to 5 weeks before the main flow.

    Be prepared to pull frames of capped honey out of the top box brood box to allow for maximum brood rearing up until the main honey flow.
     
  17. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

    Messages:
    742
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks again Apis.

    I am thinking I did the right stuff, adding frames, last year by complete accident. It also seems that I am right on with what I am doign this year. Without the information above to guide me.

    I was not planning on splitting though. So that is a new thought. In my case I would only want to pull a nuc

    Also I have a location specific situation here. Once the fruit trees bloom we can nearly always count on a late freeze. I have gambled we will not get it this year. Finally the weather people are starting to say the same thing. But 99 out of 100 years we do. it only lasts about a week at most but is enough to kill the fruit tree blossoms here. This late freeze is also one last obstical I have to manage through. Also bad years can be very bad,. we did not get our last freezing and even snow until July 2 years ago. No July was not a typo. Our average last frost is May 15th. As you can see averages don't mean a lot here.

    what I am thinking is that I will want to keep my hives stronger through this freezing period to insure that brood is kept warm.

    Also our cold nights. (Yesterday got to 74 but this morning it is now 40) tends to keep the activity of the bees down. They are building but not acting so much like they want to kick a wall off the hive to get in and out. that will happen later on when nights remain warm.

    I will say you offered me a lot of things to contemplate.

    At first thought applying your information to my situation. I have two nucs right now. I am going to be moving them to 10 frames boxes soon. I am now thinking that moving ten frames from the large hive to these nucs may be a good way to manage the big hive and build up the nucs at the same time. this avoids the mated queen issue I am not ready for also. I suppose I could look at it like I was ready with mated queens since last fall.

    In all if I am going to reduce this colony I need to be doing it now.

    I am also a bit stuck on following through with this building up of a single colony theory. I realize you are saying a hive that strong is goign to swarm. either from lack of room now or boredom later. I am directly and intentionally addressing the room issue with the intent to manage swarming now. Boredom I had not considered. according to the information I am goign by if the hive does not swarm they will supersede their queen. I am not all that excited about that idea right now either. I like this queen and want to see all that she can do.

    I need to write a book to myself so that I remember some of this stuff next year.

    Now this is me just thinking through some of this info.

    I now have a hive that is 30 frames total. clearly in violation of your advice above. I want to get this hive down to 10 frames 8 of which are brood. strong population and in it's original location so it retains the foragers.

    As many as 10 of these frames are partially drawn foundation. some of which is already half drawn. So I already have the giving them some extra space and work to play in covered. But that will not last long at the rate they are going.

    I have tons of brood to work with. One problem I may have is that brood is all over the place. I don't have many fraems to pick from that do not have brood in them. Yeah I know I call the strangest things problems. I just don't like moving brood.

    anyway I have 20 frames to do something with. and two nucs with mated queens that could be put on the instant full size hive list. Sounds to me like I am actually in pretty good shape to do just exactly what you are suggesting.

    Now for my conflict. I have a couple of projects I have been anxious to carry out this spring.

    1. I want to see if I can repeat what I did last year with my 5 frame nuc. To do so means I need to build them up to 10 frame double deep colonies with empty frames of foundation. I am also aware I am in the learning phase of beekeeping and new education requires changes in plans. The question I need to answer at this time is do I want to experiment or do I want to keep bees. I am no longer a beekeeper with 5 frames of bees. I now have 60 frames of bees and maybe I should manage my beekeeping like I have 60 frames of bees. Wow that sounds like a lot of work when I put it that way.

    2. Second I am also looking closely at the nectar management method. I cannot locate my copy of it lately. which is great. can't find it just when I need it. Grrr. Now again this is experimenting. but it is a lot more experimenting with an experienced beekeepers ideas. And I am interested in following through on this one for educations sake. I realize it could be an expensive education and I do not recall this method addressing this post build up swarming due to boredom issue you speak of.

    Have you ever laid your whole paycheck down on a hand of Black Jack?

    I do beleive I am looking at continuing to experiment with all of its uncertainty and work in comparison to switching to a more proven reliable method of management. I also realize it is in no way smart for me to gamble my entire apiary. and that is pretty much what I am doing. I even wrote that on a white board to myself yesterday in big bold letters. But it makes living so much more fun. dang it Apis you are raining all over my poker game.

    In the end the answer for me lies in this. Do I want to experiment or do I want to become a beekeeper? I can always conduct experiments later when it does not put every hive I own at risk.
     
  18. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

    Messages:
    742
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I expanded one of the nucs to a ten frame deep with a ten frame med over it the day before yesterday. The nuc was a 5 frame deep with a 5 frame med on top.

    I was expecting to switch the second nuc yesterday which is also a 5 frame deep with a 5 frame med on it yesterday but the ten frame box was not ready. it is getting painted.

    I am aware of two potenntial problems with the first nuc. one it may be to much space to fast and two the weather.

    The weather is a bit of a gamble but even our bad nights are only in the high 30 low 40's right now. days are sunny and warm some of them getting into the 70's. Everything is budding and blooming, even the elms are budding leaves. My wife has said she has never seen that this time of year. the only reason I think my bees are not foraging more is that the majority of the bees are nurse bees. every frame of every hive is carpeted with bees.

    I read the minutes of the local beekeeping association for their March 11th meeting. the old timer in charge was advicing not to build hive to early do to risk of swarming and that there will be a derth from mid April to mid may. I think he is regurgitating same old same old typical spring in Reno and not taking an extremely different spring into account.

    As far as I can tell the derth if any started maybe a week or so ago and will be over in the nest 2 weeks at most. we are in the middle of it not waiting for it. Cherry and plmb trees are in bloom but I am not seeing anything that tells me the bees are geting much from them. The old timer was also saying to watch for willow pollen. The same pollen I think I was seeing in mid February. bees are bringing in Dandelion now. Along with a half dozen other pollens as well. I simply think this guy is missing all the signals of an extremely early spring.

    So far I am building and it is going well. with my largest hive 3 deeps all full of brood. We will have to wait and see how managable swarms are with this situation. I do knwo that the advice I am following is intended to manage swarms through the regular swarm season. I may then walk face first into a post swarm season nightmare I don't know. but that is what I am out to find out. is this a reliable management method.

    So one nuc transfered one to go. Oh by the way my plan is to add the 5 med frames from the second nuc to the 10 frame box on the first nuc. this way it is not empty space for them to try and draw out and fill. The second nuc will just be a 10 frame deep. If the med on top of the first one becomes a problem I wll probaly move it to my big hive. they can handle the additional space better. In all with everything else I am developing my judgment of hwo much space is to much space.

    It is all carful trial and error for me at this point. I am making decisions far to slowly but that is necessary to avoid making thoughtless mistakes. That will pass as I find more and more methods I know I can relay on and build a track record of what worked last time.

    It is alto of work a lot of planning and replanning but so far the results show I am making the right choices.

    My final decision on the APis method VS the Nectar managment method. I am doign as close as posibel to attempt both. the nucs are clsoe to what Apis does. the big hive is managed by the Nectar managment method. that way I can see how I fair with both methods. The Apis method I am not able to really put together as described. but some patched together version of it. I'll give it a fairer shake next year. I also have the cut out that is much more to the description Apis listed.
     
  19. Omie

    Omie New Member

    Messages:
    2,845
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    A little reminder- For those reading who don't live in warm areas, just be sure there are some drones around in your area (or at least capped drone brood present) before you do any early Spring splits, if you are expecting your virgin queens to get properly mated. Unless you are buying mated queens or doing the artificial insemination thing.
    Without drones, all the feeding in the world won't help you raise good fertile open-mated queens.
     
  20. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

    Messages:
    2,060
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    A little further on Omie's post it takes 45 days for a drone to develop from the laid egg to being mature to mate. 24 days to emerge and and another 21 days to mature till the are ready to mate. So you want to see drones emerging before you start to graft cells so that the drones are old and mature enough to mate.