May is here, and our goal is to help the bees reach maximum colony strength at blackberry blossom in June. The bee brood developing right now is going to bring in the food that provisions the colony through fall and winter, and your personal honey harvest as well. To achieve this, we recommend the following:
CONTINUE SWARM MANAGEMENT
We are at the height of swarm season now. Try to keep the head space above the brood nest free and open and move frames around if necessary. If the nights are warm and your colony is populous, go ahead and put empty drawn frames near the center of the brood nest to break it up. You can even borrow frames of brood from strong colonies to give to weak ones. If your colony has already swarmed, check for eggs about three weeks after the swarm. Don’t forget to control for Varroa mites at this time – only about 1/6 of the colony’s mites left with the swarm, so the remaining bees are likely to have a heavy mite burden.
WATCH FOR QUEEN ISSUES
Queen problems at this time can really hold a colony back. Watch for broodless periods, bad laying patterns, and laying workers. Laying workers can be identified by looking at the eggs and brood. Laying workers can’t reach the bottom of cells and will lay eggs on cell walls. They will leave 6 or more eggs per cell. If you see this, it is usually a sign of an absent queen. Give us a call if you need a new queen at 541-929-3524, and we will let you know if we have any available.
CONTROL YOUR MITES
All that brood in your colony means Varroa mites are reproducing too! Don’t neglect Varroa monitoring in your colony – a high count now could mean rapid collapse in the fall. If you aren’t sure about how to get an accurate mite count, Shonnard’s can help. A great resource for mite information and management can be found on our YouTube channel.
GUIDE YOUR BEES TO WATER
It is hard to believe that dry weather will ever come, but when it does your bees are going to find the most convenient water source and return to it all summer long. To ensure the bee watering hole is not your neighbor’s swimming pool or bird feeder, provide a constant source of water near your hive(s). Using an old plant saucer full of rocks is an easy setup. The rocks will help prevent drownings and keep your saucer from blowing away if it dries out.
STACK THOSE SUPERS!
If you have two or three drawn honey supers for a colony, put them all on early! This is thought to encourage the bees to bring in more nectar. You can rearrange and reduce space if necessary as the blackberry flow dries up.
FEED NEW COLONIES
Don’t stop feeding new colonies until they start to lose interest in syrup or are well established. It’s best to let the bees have at least a box full of drawn frames and plenty of emerging brood before taking food away. However, don’t feed your bees if you have honey supers on or you’ll have sugar syrup instead of honey in your harvest! You can find more information on feeding your colonies on our YouTube page.
Inspections and Problem Solving in the Hive – Hybrid Class
Class Date: Thursday, June 8th at 11 AM (Pacific Time)
Location: Shonnard’s Classroom, 6600 SW Philomath Blvd., Corvallis, OR 97333
Presenter: Camille Dill
The class will cover the basics of regular hive inspections and how to recognize and solve common problems. Find out how to conduct a hive inspection and how to read your frames. Common problems will be covered including disease & pest recognition and treatment, how to gauge the health of your queen, and when to add a new brood box or honey super.
LAST CHANCE TO PRE-ORDER
The pick-up dates for package bees and nucleus hives are fast approaching, so don’t wait any longer to pre-order if you think you’ll be needing some new hives.
LIVE BEES ARE FOR PICK-UP AT OUR STORE IN CORVALLIS ONLY.
WE DO NOT SHIP BEES.
Have further questions? Please call us at 541-929-3524 or email email@example.com