Category Archives: Spring Management

Early morning bearding…

This morning it was 68°F so I was surprised that this Nuc was bearding like it was. Looks like I need to take a peak inside just to make sure this is just bearding and not a lack of space issue. I split this Nuc 2 ways several weeks ago since there were swarm cells on 3 frames. This Nuc was an overwintered one, split from one of my other hives. I ordered some queens from Rossmans for several of these nucs and this latest batch are the most gentle Italians that I have encountered. I don’t even smoke this Nuc or the other 2 that I split from this one. It’s nice to be able to do that! I have another colony that I’ll get popped just walking close by! So next week I’m going to dispatch that queen and try the OTS notch method with a frame from this nuc and hopefully that colony will raise a nice, gentle queen.

In case you are wondering, that white object is a playing card that I attached to the nucs since they were all painted the same color and are positioned close together. I figured that it might help with orientation.

The second picture shows the nuc and another colony sitting on a 10 foot section of Rohn 20 (radio tower). Finally found a good use for them!


Building frames on Sunday

I will tell you what I just did… I ordered a frame jig yesterday. Why? Because I built 100 frames on Sunday and I can’t even tell you how long it took. Manually building them.. gluing, stapling… I couldn’t even get a rhythm. I just saw a video where a gent built 10 frames in 8 minutes using the jig. 10 frames probably took me 25-30 minutes! I wasn’t really timing but it was a LONG time… and my time is worth buying a frame jig!!


Saturday Swarm & Split

Wow… with all my other websites… I didn’t I think I neglected this one so bad! Sorry folks!

Saturday I was getting ready to do inspections and most likely some splits. As I was getting all my tools ready, one of my overwintered Nucs decided to swarm. I wish I had taken video of it but I was anxious to try and split it before they actually swarmed. I know folks are probably saying why because when they decide to swarm, they are going to no matter what you do!

This queen that I got from Rossmans in Moultrie Ga last year produced the most gentle bees that I have encountered. This is the first hive (actually nuc) that I can work without smoke! I wanted to spread her genes out since I have 2 hot hives that I need to re-queen and I want to keep this line active so I can requeen the others.

As they were pouring out of the nuc and swirling in the air, I opened it up and did a quick inspection. I didn’t find my red dot queen from last year but I did see one supercedure cell and multiple swarm cells on 4 frames. The supercedure cell made me question what the heck was going on in the nuc but all I can figure is that either the queen just left or something happened to her. The brood pattern on 3 frames was awesome, almost a perfect oval and lots of capped cells. But I didn’t see any fresh eggs or larvae… so something was amiss.

At any rate, I managed to get two splits from this one nuc, adding some frames of brood and eggs from one of my other hives. I have to keep an eye on these two nucs and see how they will do in the next few days. I desperately want to keep this queens genetics going in the apiary.

This weekends weather is not going to be that great for any inspections or splits since there is a 50-70% chance of rain on Saturday & Sunday.


My Annual Inspection

An inspection or audit usually conjures up fear and anxiety. Not so with the State of Florida annual inspection of your honey bee colonies. I’m always amazed how nice, polite, knowledgeable and helpful the inspectors are. After all they want you to succeed in your hobby or commercial endeavor. Mr. Gary Van Cleef was my inspector yesterday and he went through my colonies like a pro (which he is). This was the first time the hives have been opened since I broke my left arm (Greater Tuberosity Humerus fracture @ the shoulder) Nov 11 last year. Still under doctors’ orders not to lift any heavy objects (which I can’t anyway) while I’m continuing physical therapy as my arm still heals.

Overall the hives were generally healthy. Gary said that hive #1 did indicate there might be an issue with either a failing queen or laying worker. I left the honey supers on all winter since I didn’t get them off before I broke the arm. Good thing I did because they ate the honey in super #1 (#2 top was full of honey) and the queen started laying in the 1st super. Lots of drone cells in the super. I’ll have to take some pictures this weekend and show you what it looks like. I’ve never seen so many drone cells. Swam cells were abundant as well so I definitely need to do some swarm control this weekend ASAP! Also this hive was a little aggressive, more than usual. All of my colonies are pretty docile and I have worked them on occasions with just the smoker and no veil. But during the inspection they were kind of uptight so I need to do a complete inspection of all boxes to find the root of the problem. There were more SHB that I would have like to see but with the warm weather we’ve been having I think that was pretty normal this time of year. Hardly any Varroa mites were seen. This was great because I used my vaporizer for the first time last fall to treat for those pesky mites and it looks like it did a good job.

Hive #2 was a pleasure to work. They didn’t fly around while Gary took the cover and supers off to begin the inspection. Super #2 (Top) was slap full of honey so I guess I’ll still be able to do a late extraction. The queen also started laying in Super #1 so again I’m glad I left the supers on without the queen excluders. Although I don’t like her majesty laying in the supers, she needed to lay in it and I’m glad she did. Nice laying patterns and very little Varroa or SHB seen in this hive. I’m going to make some splits from this colony since I like this queen. Maybe I’ll see her this weekend!

Hive #3 had comb all in the top cover. I mean literally row after row of comb. I have to take a picture of that also. This hive was busting at the seams also as you can probably imagine. Good laying patterns in super #1. Super #2 was full of honey also in this hive. We did notice that there were a few more Varroa than the other hives so I’ll have to treat this soon so the mites don’t get out of control.

I guess I’m pleased that they survived this long for me not being able to go into them for the last 4 months. So now I have to at least do swarm prevention and make some splits. Last year I was late in preparation and had two swarm on me… don’t want that loss again!