Please support Friends of the Bees to keep this forum free to use.

Natural Beekeeping International Forum
low-cost, low-impact, balanced beekeeping for everyone

 Forum FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileYour Profile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Please Read The Rules before posting.



(country selected automatically - UK/USA/CA/AU)
1st Spring Jitters

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    beekeeping forum -> Beginners start here
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Kdxzoom
House Bee


Joined: 15 Jun 2012
Posts: 12
Location: USA, Yakima, WA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2014 1:50 pm    Post subject: 1st Spring Jitters Reply with quote

I'm going into my first spring and thought I knew what to do, but as it comes down to it I'm still a bit confused. Our day temps are bumping 60/16 but nights are still near 32/0, and should remain this way for about another week or so. We are about 2-3 weeks from cherry bloom then several other fruit orchards in the area will follow. I have many different types of orchards within a mile of me (blueberry, cherry, pear, apple).

I have about 9 current brood bars and then 4 capped honey bars. I have not opened the hive so do not know the status of the brood bars. So my question is when and where to add bars to expand the brood nest? Also when do I take out those honey bars (which are quite crossed, so I plan to take them all at once) or do I?

Thank you

Jennifer
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
reminniear
Nurse Bee


Joined: 20 Dec 2012
Posts: 39
Location: USA, Kansas City, KS

PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Jennifer,

You're not alone with these questions. This is my first spring as well.
I'm in much the same boat. Daytime temps ranging from 50-70 with nighttime temps near 32.

I'd love to see the answers to the questions you've asked and would like to add:
When should mouse guards be removed? I'm assuming it's when nighttime temps are warm enough that the girls can defend against a mouse, but don't know for sure.

Roger
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
biobee
Site Admin


Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1055
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You need to move the followers away before you can answer those questions for yourself. Nobody else can answer them for your bees.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Kdxzoom
House Bee


Joined: 15 Jun 2012
Posts: 12
Location: USA, Yakima, WA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Roger

Yes there does seem to be a gap in information between checking to make sure your bees made it to winter and swarm season.

I saw that Garett places 2-3 bars (I think blanks, but maybe drawn) at the front of his hive about this time, but that would require moving every bar back 2-3 spaces. Les Crowder suggests putting any honey left over near the front and empty top bars behind the cluster.

I will try one of these options, just not sure if now is the right time. Can they draw comb now with no real flow, only capped honey?

I removed my mouse guard yesterday because it was so congested at my one, 1" entrance yesterday with orientation flights, and pollen and water foragers. I think the mice are well on their way to reproducing in their current homes.

Well good job making it this far, and good luck this spring.

Jennifer
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
reminniear
Nurse Bee


Joined: 20 Dec 2012
Posts: 39
Location: USA, Kansas City, KS

PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got Dr Mangum's book and he says to move everything back 2 bars and to put empty worker combs in front. He does mention that if you don't have worker comb then empty drone comb would work. If no worker or drone comb is available then he suggests foundation. I'm not for sure if he means a topbar with a foundation strip as a guide or a sheet of foundation cut to fit. I'm assuming a foundation strip, and will be doing that.

My big question is when. I'm pretty sure they won't build comb until nectar starts coming in, and with the cold evenings I'm not for sure that I want to move make this move.

I know that they can build comb off of 1:1 sugar water, since that's how they started last year from a package, but I don't want to feed unless they absolutely need it.

In his book Dr Mangum also mentions that the hive should be ok without feeding if there are 2 bars of capped honey left in the early spring. 2 bars equates to 10 lbs of honey if the hive is built to his specs.

Thanks for the info on the mouse guards, I'll plan to pull those this weekend.

I've got henbit just now starting to green up, so it won't be long till the bees will start being able to get some nectar there. I'll probably wait till I see one of the girls visiting the henbit to shift everything back 2 bars unless someone here recommends differently.

Roger
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1582
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi

I'm by no means an expert with TBHs and still finding my way with them but I have quite a bit of experience with bees.

I still haven't opened my hives this year yet. They are all flying well on warmer days but my personal rule is that I don't open the hive until the temp is 17C on a sunny calm day, unless there is serious cause for concern.

As you correctly said they will not start building comb until there is a nectar flow and they need more comb. If there is plenty of empty comb, they will utilise that first to build up the number of bees by increasing the brood nest.

If you have cross combed honey bars, you want to keep those bars furthest away from the brood nest and start inserting empty bars between. The bees will still be able to access the honey if they need it now that daytime temperatures allow the cluster to break. I insert an empty bar either side of the brood nest initially and this year I plan to insert an empty bar or two (interspersed with worker brood bars) in the middle of it, once we are into warmer weather as I found they drew drone comb almost exclusively on the brood nest periphery where I put the empty bars and I ended up with a huge drone population.
Once you get a couple of bars of nectar between the brood nest and the cross combed honey bars, I would remove them.

I don't feed unless there is an absolute risk of starving. Let them build at their own pace and in harmony with their conditions and forage so that they develop a bio rhythm with their surroundings. That's my view anyway.

Hope that answers most of your questions.

Regards

Barbara
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
mannanin
Scout Bee


Joined: 25 Feb 2009
Posts: 259
Location: Essex. UK.

PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reminniear/ Kdxzoom,

I agree with Barbara, don’t be in too much of a hurry to open them up. Wait for continuous warm spring days when you are sure they are gathering plenty of nectar, not just pollen. Then if you do decide to remove all of the crossed bars of honey at once, they have plenty of natural nectar to build that new replacement comb. Personally, I don’t insert empty bars at the edge/s of the brood nest although I agree it is very non invasive if done at the rear of the brood nest. I just don’t think that the edge is the best place. I only intersperse them between the brood bars and only once I am sure the colony is expanding laterally. This serves two purposes; firstly, it keeps them building nice straight new combs. Secondly, it keeps the brood nest open and the bees nice and busy. This is my one and only attempt at any form of swarm control. I have found that this keeps the build up to a nice pace and really does help. In the case of a big, strong colony, no, I can’t stop them swarming, neither would I want to. Life would be very dull for me if I never had a swarm.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Kdxzoom
House Bee


Joined: 15 Jun 2012
Posts: 12
Location: USA, Yakima, WA

PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for your responses. I will wait for a bit to open them up and I will add bars between brood comb. I think those are good ideas based on your experiences.

I think waiting will work because I can see no capped brood when looking in the window. So at least they have the couple inches around the edges open.

I still have several bars with capped honey, so will not feed them unless they use all this.

So far I haven't gone wrong letting them dictate the path to go.

Thanks again,

Jennifer
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    beekeeping forum -> Beginners start here All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

SPECIAL OFFER FOR UK FORUM MEMBERS - Buy your protective clothing here and get a special 15% discount! (use the code BAREFOOTBEEKEEPER at checkout and be sure to 'update basket')



Are the big energy companies bleeding you dry?


Is way too much of your hard-earned family income going up in smoke?

Are you worried about what could happen if the ageing grid system fails?

You need to watch this short video NOW to find out how YOU can cut your energy bills TO THE BONE within 30 days!

WATCH THE VIDEO NOW



(country selected automatically - UK/USA/CA/AU)

Conserving wild bees

Research suggests that bumble bee boxes have a very low success rate in actually attracting bees into them. We find that if you create an environment where first of all you can attract mice inside, such as a pile of stones, a drystone wall, paving slabs with intentionally made cavities underneath, this will increase the success rate.

Most bumble bee species need a dry space about the size a football, with a narrow entrance tunnel approximately 2cm in diameter and 20 cm long. Most species nest underground along the base of a linear feature such as a hedge or wall. Sites need to be sheltered and out of direct sunlight.

There is a spectacular display of wild bee hotels here

More about bumblebees and solitary bees here

Information about the Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)

Barefoot Beekeeper Podcast



Now available from Lulu.com


Now available from Lulu.com


Now available from Lulu.com


4th Edition paperback now available from Lulu.com

See beekeeping books for details and links to ebook versions.
site map
php. BB © 2001, 2005 php. BB Group

View topic - 1st Spring Jitters - Natural Beekeeping Network Forum