Happy May 2021 Backyard Beekeepers!
This is the time of year in the beekeeping season that is the most fun for me. Our bees have plenty to forage on, their populations are growing fast, the mite loads are low, and the weather outlook predicts a great several months ahead!
I enjoy the many differing methods beekeepers use to assist our bees and to encourage them to produce for us. As soon as our deep brood chambers are near full some of us put on a second deep, some put on a queen excluder and a super…some put on two supers at once. Most of us use the 80% rule which is that as soon as our bees have reached 80% capacity, we add a super. This gives the bees the space they need to continue to grow the hive and not be overly congested.
We have a great nectar flow going on right now so if you haven’t checked in to see what your bees have been doing in a while, now is the time. Most probably they are building fast and bringing in plenty of nectar. Often I am asked what is a nectar flow and how can you tell you are in one.
Different plants produce nectar at different times of day and for different periods during the day. The nectar flow from a plant can be for a select few minutes a day to several hours, and some of these flows can last for a few days, others several weeks. Days which are warmer are great for this, and days where it rains not only prevents our bees from serious foraging but actually can actually wash away some of the nectar in the flowers blossom.
Nectar flows around our area are the strongest now and typically carry forward for the next month to two months, and can again occur in the warm days of early Fall.
If you are going to be away on vacation for several weeks and are leaving anytime soon, it would make sense to place 2 supers on now. Your bees can fill them up rather quickly during a strong nectar flow.
As a reminder, please be sure there is plenty of room for the populations of your bees to grow, We are in swarm season and it doesn’t take much for our bees ( or half the colony) to want to take leave of their hive and find a new home. Check your frames for swarm cells, and if you have a huge population consider doing splits at this time.
I hope you all are enjoying this great early Summer weather. Stay healthy, and keep an eye on your colonies! There is plenty going on inside of them right now.
Back Yard Beekeepers Association