Spring and honey

The honey flow is now well underway. Pollen, the building block of healthy larva, is abundant and pouring into the hives. Nectar stores are increasing with frames of both capped honey and nectar. The building of swarm cell cups is plentiful in several hives. Most hives have multiple frames of capped brood and larva even after March nucs were built from them.

Swarming has started. I got a late evening call early this week that a swarm was hanging in a shrub not too far from me. Early the next morning I was there and caught it, lucky me! It was medium size with dark colored bees of unknown origin. I dropped it into a 5 frame nuc box setup with two supers and a two frame internal feeder. Two of the eight frames are light colored, clean drawn comb. I like to add a frame or two of drawn comb to any starter hive such as packages or swarms. The other 6 frames are foundation.

Yesterday the swarm’s drawn comb frame had eggs and a few very small larva. The queen got right to work. Although not a big swarm, there is pollen and nectar with a surprising amount of newly drawn comb. I sprinkled a small amount of protein supplement on the feeder’s top cover but it is being ignored. They like the real stuff!

New beekeepers that started with packages are mostly are doing well. I’m helping several of these new beekeepers and gave them a frame of good clean comb. The difference between the hives that have a frame of comb to get started with and those that don’t is quite noticeable. The local club’s class teaches new beekeepers to avoid comb from outside sources and there is usually some hesitance on the student’s part to accept my offer. The class also supports the purchase of nucs which comes with drawn comb. I don’t understand the difference.

Spring mite treatment is finished. Swarm control is the current management issue. All things considered, the bees are doing well. A few weak hives are not building up and there have been a few early spring nucs that required a bit of extra attention. That’s beekeeping.