<In the news
April 2016 - Spring Checkup and Package Preparation
Greetings from your WCBA president. My intent is to give
pertinent beekeeping tips to you each month so that you will be able to plan
the work that needs to be accomplished to keep your bees healthy, strong and
productive. These tips are based on the timeline and the way I keep bees.
April 4, 2016: You
should be ready for their new bee packages. They will arrive about the 15th of
this month. Your new hives should be painted and set in place, ready to house the
new package. If these bees are replacements it is an advantage to use drawn
comb, the queen doesn’t have to wait for the comb to be drawn by the new bees before
she starts laying eggs. We will discuss installation of packages at our next
bee club meeting, Wednesday April 13.
It is time to do a spring inspection on all the hives that
survived winter. Open the hive and look for eggs, brood, and nectar. There
should be several frames of sealed brood with lots of larva and lots of bees. There
should be drone cells. Check for resources, disease, and queen cells or queen
cups. If they are low on honey, you need to feed. Frames of honey are best if
you have any. You can take from a hive that has plenty or from a dead-out. Plan
to re-queen hives that have a poorly performing queen (i.e., small brood
pattern or a pattern that is not dense). Queen cells are your opportunity to
try your hand a making a split, this will be discussed at the next bee club
meeting. It is likely you will find the bees preparing for a split by making
queen cups. Check these for eggs or larva. If they have eggs or larva when they
are capped they become what we call queen cells.
Spring is also the time of the year for swarms. You can put out
swarm traps or get on the Club’s Swarm List to get called to capture a swarm.
You’ll need to have an extra hive body or nuc box (depending on the size of the
swarm) set up ready to accept a swarm. This hive should have several frames of
honey and several frames of drawn comb. The drawn comb will allow the queen to
settle in and go to laying eggs right away. The honey will entice them to stay
in their new home. Swarms and splits are a great way to grow your bee yard.
This is the busy time of the year in the bee yard, so clean
up your hive tool, get the smoker fueled, and your PPE inspected and cleaned. As
Bruce Buffer (a UFC cage fighting announcer) says ”IT’S
Do you want to Learn more about beekeeping? Then attend our
club meetings where seasoned and new beekeepers share their knowledge and
experiences. Come and join us, we would
love to meet you and share our knowledge. We meet the second Wednesday of every
month in the Sagebrush Room at the Mesa County Fairground.
Howard “Howdy” Martsolf