It’s spring! New packages are arriving, and the bigleaf maple is in full bloom!
If you’re a new beekeeper, what should you be looking for in your new colonies? Kate and Patti will review what to look for both outside and inside the hive.
If you have overwintered bees, the early swarm season is upon us and it’s time to talk about your options. Bob will discuss various methods of splitting and combining colonies. This presentation is likely to relate to discussions of swarm control (continuing last month’s discussion) and queen rearing.
7:00-7:30 Beginners session: Observations and inspections (Kate Flack, Patti Loesche)
8:00-9:00 Main topic: Splits and combines: when and what kinds (Bob Combs)
It’s that time of year again folks. If you’re on the swarm list, have your swarm catching gear in order and be ready to take calls. If you’re not available to take swarms calls this season, take yourself off the list. Is everyone ready?
Bee Informed Partnership, a joint project among numerous universities and laboratories, aims to help beekeepers make better management decisions and reduce colony losses. They need beekeepers, lots of beekeepers, to participate in two annual surveys, on winter losses and management. The surveys are open only until 15 April 2013.
To participate in the National Winter Loss and Management surveys, click on this link:
The Winter Loss survey should take under 5 minutes. The Management Survey should take under 20 minutes.
Questions? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 443.296.2470.
Getting started on the season: evaluate, install packages, splits, combines.
On a good warm day (>50 degrees), evaluate existing colonies:
- Brood? How many frames? Where?
- Honey stores: Adequate, or continue dry sugar feeding?
What to do:
- Install packages in good weather if you can, in early afternoon shortly after they arrive. If poor weather, wait for a break in rain/snow and do it fast.
- If you have overwintered bees, your winter boxes may need to be downsized. Provide a new box of frames if the frames in the existing box are 75% drawn (e.g. 6/8 frames in an 8-frame box). Remove extra boxes.
- If you have a weak colony, evaluate why. If a small population (versus unexplained dwindling), combine with another colony.
- Prepare for splits. Strong colonies are good candidates. Wait until drones are flying to split without introducing a new queen, i.e. by allowing the colony to create queen cells.
- Be prepared to super after the maple flow gets going (fingers crossed: this is an iffy prospect year to year).
- Reduce entrances on weak colonies and look out for robbers. Robbing season is before nectar flow.
- Set out yellow jacket traps to capture queens. The usefulness of YJ traps in late summer is negligible, but by culling queens in the spring you can reduce seasonal YJ populations by many thousands.
Pollen: Dandelion, Alder, Cedar, Scots Broom beginning.
Nectar (soon): Maple, Raspberry, Apple, Fruiting Cherry.
Bob Combs, Patti Loesche
Spring comes on so fast. Packages arrive in April, swarms begin in May. How do you set up a new hive? If you already have colonies, how do you prevent swarming? If you seek swarms to populate your hives, how do you capture them? April’s meeting topics will help you to with these seasonal goals.
Beginners: Installing packages, Q&A
Announcements, welcome, tea
Main topic: Preventing swarms, capturing swarms
Panel and equipment demonstration
The March 2013 issue of the Washington State Beekeepers Association newsletter is now available. Click here for the newsletter.
Washington State Beekeepers Association: www.wasba.org
This is our state beekeepers group, folks! Check it out.
July 26-28, 2013
Pacific University, Forest Grove, Oregon
$40 discount if you register before April 1.
This is a unique opportunity to attend a treatment-free conference in the Pacific Northwest with a strong lineup of speakers, including Tom Seeley, Kirk Webster, Lynn Royce, Les Crowder, and others.
Click here for the conference registration form.
Click here for the general conference schedule.
For more information, see www.blisshoneybees.org/events.html