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In the spring, what do I need to look for to know when its time to "open the brood nest"? I have several hives that I consider pollen bound on each side of the cluster. We are starting to have a little new pollen come in from Elm trees and the weather has been warm for this time of year.

Going to nearly 70 today and the bees are looking for something to do.
 

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The queen starts laying! Move the super she is laying in, probably top super, to the bottom. The influx of pollen usually means she is about to get the nursery rolling. You can move all the frames down if you don't like moving supers for some reason. If you miss the baby boom you might see them in a nearby tree so have a swarm box on standby.
 

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I would lift the back of the hive to check the weight for stores or take the top cover off and look between the frames for capped honey. Hives that come through winter can starve in early spring when the queen starts laying. If i have any doubt? i start feeding 1 to 1 sugar syrup. Jack
 

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a flyman snip:
I have several hives that I consider pollen bound on each side of the cluster.

tecumseh:
from this time forward the queens egg production increases and eventually all the frames between those solid frames of pollen will become full. what and when to do something then becomes the question and for me is somewhat to highly determined by the quantity of bees and honey in the hive. sometimes I will simply remove the pollen plugged frames and store these for later use in queen rearing and sometimes I will move these frames over one slot and place a totally empty frame (or an uncapped nectar type frame) in it's place. naturally at this time of year nectar type feed should not also be moved so far off from the brood nest center whereby starvation might become a concern.
 

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I'm glad someone posted this,upon inspection a couple weeks ago I noticed in some of my hives had solid (heavy)frames of pollen which I haven't seen before(didn't start keeping bees until last April).
So from what I understand here is those frames should be removed or relocated in the hive before Spring buildup?
 

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The queen will often refuse to cross a solid pollen frame to lay. She seems to think it is an outer wall. You must remove this "wall" or you will not have a spring buildup. I just move a couple empty frames inside the pollen frames after the weather is past heavy freeze time.
 
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