Late February is the time to open up your hive(s) and assess the health of your bees. Hopefully, your bees were well fed and survived the winter and you’ll find a healthy colony. If not, use the next few weeks to do the necessary cleanup to prepare for a thriving 2018 season.
Even if it appears your hive survived, you should do a queen check. Examine the middle 3 frames of the colony and check out the queen’s egg and larva laying pattern. You want to see a good pattern of eggs, with little to no skips (empty cells with no eggs in the brood chamber area). If all is well, I recommend feeding protein patties and sugar syrup to kick start colony growth. Remember, feeding pollen early will produce young bees in 3 weeks. Make a decision if you think the queen is healthy and young enough to make it another year. If her health looks disparaged, you can replace the failing queen in the beginning of April.
If your hive didn’t make it through the winter you will need to clean out all the dead bees and any mold or fungus that is in the hive. Pollen frames may have mold, so all the ruined wax must be scraped out. If you have Rite Cell foundation or plastic frames you can put that frame back in the hive after you’ve scraped off all the ruined wax. If you use wax foundation you’ll need to re-wax the frame.
Shonnard’s is your source for live bees and hive equipment! If you’re adding hives or replacing dead boxes, then you have the option of ordering 5 frame nucs or bee packages. The last day to place your order is March 20th – stop in, shop online, or give us a call at 541-929-3524.
Still have questions? Call (541) 929-3524 or email firstname.lastname@example.org