Where is your hive going from here? 2019 has been on the wrong side of exceptional in many regions of Oregon. Our spring began as usual, but then the cold jumped back on us and slowed down the growth for hives. Everything seemed delayed from North Central California to Washington. This may help to slow down the swarming tendencies of your hives. Also, 2018 was an unforgettable year for Varroa mite problems, and many hives succumbed to the pressure from mites. We all vow to do better in 2019, but it is hard to know what the solution might be.
Unfortunately in beekeeping, swarming can be a deterrent to your honey production by splitting the population and eliminating the bees’ ability to gather surplus—like starting over! To prevent swarming, it is helpful to pull brood and bees from large, overpopulated hives to boost smaller colonies or to add a new colony or to build nucs for your use later in a failing hive. You can pull a frame with very young eggs, along with some honey and capped brood and surplus bees, and allow the new hive or nuc to raise their own queen, or you can purchase a queen.
Bees and flowers have an inevitable connection and honey plants seem to be regional in nature. Understanding when your honey flow happens and what plants are responsible are an important part of beekeeping. It is great to record the date and source of honey surplus for the first few years of beekeeping because there are similarities in years, but also swings in the date that each plant produces.
Remove bees from supers with either fume boards, blowers, or escape boards, and be sure to cover your honey with lids and nets to prevent robbing. Uncapping knives are used to remove cappings, and a scratcher is handy to remove spots that the uncapping knife cannot reach. If you are using a small extractor, balance the weight of the frames so that it does not dance across the floor. Heating and straining your honey during extracting delays the onset of granulation.
ALL ABOUT THE HIVE!
1. Always know your Varroa levels.
2. Do an egg check on your hive to be sure that your queen is laying.
3. Replace poorly performing queens.
4. Keep records for your hive, including date, weather, Varroa levels, eggs seen, larvae, and queen cells.
Bee a Beekeeper, Not a Bee Haver!
Enjoy your Hive and Have a Great Summer.