Congratulations, you’ve overwintered your colony! If your hives made it through to April with 5+ solid frames of bees and an active queen then you’ve successfully overwintered!
Now that your bees have broken their winter cluster and have begun to forage, it is time to switch from dry sugar feed to liquid sugar syrup mixed at a ratio of 1:1 sugar:water. The 1:1 syrup simulates a light nectar flow and gets the bees excited for the gathering season. The light nectar flow also encourages workers to produce wax and build comb.
If you have been feeding winter protein, swap to your active season protein patties to encourage your queen to ramp up her laying. When your queen is at her most productive, she can lay around 2,000 eggs per day, or both sides of 1 deep frame.
If you haven’t already done this, it is a good idea to clean off your mite board and get a count on your mite load. Temperatures are now warm enough to use most mite treatments and it is much easier to control a small mite load early on than to wait and try fixing a high load.
If your hive has at least 5 solid frames of bees, 1 strip of Formic acid (a half dose) should knock out your mite population. Make sure to do another mite count about a week after application to confirm the effectiveness of your treatment.
If you’ll be getting a new package of bees and will not have capped brood yet, Apiguard gel is an effective mite treatment derived from the thyme plant. It does not penetrate wax capping over brood, so if you do have capped brood then 2 doses are required, one after the other.
Inspect Your Hive
Regular hive inspections can now begin with the warming temperatures and breaks in rainy weather. Keep an eye on the forecast and try to do an inspection once every 2 weeks. Your bi-weekly hive inspections will help you keep tabs on certain aspects of your hive such as:
- The health of your queen – You don’t have to see your queen to know she is there! Look for eggs and uncapped white larva. The pattern of eggs and larva should be solid with no empty spaces scattered around.
- The health of your brood – Look at the new brood and the capped brood. Does everything look normal? Spot brood diseases quickly and treat accordingly.
- The resource availability for your hive – Check for ample and steadily growing supplies of nectar and pollen. Don’t forget to feed!
- Swarm prevention due to supersedure – 14 day intervals between hive inspections allow you to prevent swarming by finding any new queen cells and removing them. New queens take 16 days to emerge.
- Swarm prevention due to overcrowding – If bees feel they have run out of space they will want to swarm. When bees have filled up about 70% of their space it is time to add another box!
Yellow Jacket Control
April 1st is a great time to refill your yellow jacket traps. The robbing season may not be until fall, but traps are most effective now when western yellow jacket queens are beginning to emerge. By trapping even 1 queen, you are saving your hive a few thousand ravenous yellow jacket workers in fall that the queen would have produced. Trapping in fall may fill your traps faster and appear more effective, but it is futile as only a small portion of workers are caught. Trap those queens!
There is Still Time to Order Live Bees
The exact date to pick-up the bees is determined by weather and other delivery circumstances. You will be notified as soon as a pick-up day is decided.
Have further questions? Please call us at 541-929-3524 or email firstname.lastname@example.org