I’m not sure if the bees or the beekeeper will be most thankful when calendar spring and the warm days arrive. It won’t be long now! Maple tree buds are fat and red, wild onions dot my bee yards and I placed an order for formic acid mite treatment, extra frames and supplemental protein feed.
I’m looking for the first dandelions!
I have feed protein power outside the hives all winter and on days warm enough for flight; the feeders do a brisk business. I read conflicting reports of the merit of manmade protein but tend to let the bees decide if they want what I offer. Because there is brood (or so I hope) being raised, the need for protein is there. I’m sure the opinion that artificial protein is nowhere near the quality of naturally produced pollen is true but pollen is hard to find now and the brood is centered quite possibly out of reach of any pollen stores. I try to make my mistakes towards the oversupply of protein supplements and sugar feeding.
As for the mite treatment, because I boost the hives with protein and sugar, brood production is also increased. With the hive starting to produce brood, any mites that made it through the winter will be looking for a fat larva to feed on. I will be making splits mid April and want to have the most bees and least mites. Newer research is showing that mite infestation weakens the hive’s ability to ramp up healthy brood production and also increases the incidence of mite carried disease. Formic acid’s temperature range is in line with the spring temperatures where my hives are located.
Frames, can you ever have too many?