Yesterday, I checked hives and added a super of foundation to the ones that needed more space. In March, I had removed a good amount of older empty comb in an attempt to better follow my 3 – 4 year frame rotation plan. I also made a number of late March nucs and back filled the hives with blank foundation. My thinking is that drawing comb gives the emerging bees a place to work wax, the hive a clean place to store food, the queen a place to lay, while lowering the chance for disease or contamination. It helps to control swarming, providing extra space for all the things the bees need to do. The hives quickly drew out comb and have now filled it with capped honey. Because they could, they even sneaked in a cycle or two of brood. Good for the bees!
So what’s next? It is now June so two more months of reasonable honey flow is possible. The weather has been very good with spring showers and warm but not hot days. I don’t expect a large honey harvest as a lot went into comb production and I made one nuc from all the strong hives and a second nuc if swarming looked probable. One can produce bees or honey but rarely both.
I discarded all the old frames, cleaned up the supers and have kept up with frame assembly. Most of my beekeeping friends think it strange that I don’t clean the old frames and reuse them but new frames are faster for me to assemble then cleaning the old ones. There is a lot less mess and wax moth and small hive beetle eggs are not put back into the hives.The foundation cost is the same.
I’m seriously considering setting up a large number of summer nucs for overwintering as that works well for me. It is June, time to think about next year!