Bee Thinking About – For April, 2013

As always, remember that we have to discuss activities in general terms because of the vast climate differences of our readers. What you need to do with your hives this time of year also varies by your management philosophy, apiary goals, current weather, likely weather, and condition of your colonies. 

“The season” is about on us. Wherever you are, three key things:


  1. If you need equipment and supplies, we encourage you to order now to ensure we have what you need and can get it to you before you need it. We are already sold out of queens through mid-April. If you need queens, order ASAP.

  2. The pros tell us to carefully track what you see in the hive. A new season is here. Time to get the record sheet going, and follow-through this year, each and every hive, each and every time.

  3. They are amazing, marvelous insects, aren’t they? Take time to enjoy, and thank them.


In The Deep South

Be on the look out for swarms. Try to head them off at the pass by giving them plenty of room to expand.

It may also be time to split your stronger colonies.

Mites: Check your bees; look at the wings; get a handle on the mites before they overrun your larvae. If medications are part of your plan, Apiguard and Apivar are good choices, they do not leave residue in the wax like other mite treatments.

In the Mid-South and Possibly North

Place pollen patties above the cluster if that’s part of your management plan; protein is needed for build-up.

Perform spring inspections if/as the weather allows. Use your resources if you see weak hives. Note them, and as the queen gets going you will want to pull brood frames to help the weaker hives with numbers and possible supercedure if their queen is failing.

Mites: Check your bees; look at the wings; get a handle on the mites before they overrun your larvae. If medications are part of your plan, Apiguard and Apivar are good choices, they do not leave residue in the wax like other mite treatments.

Make sure your extra equipment is ready to go—including swarm “kits” and a place to put them. Prolonged periods of rain during build-up may invoke swarming behavior.

If you know you have dead-outs, get them cleaned up.

If you have a struggling hive, consider supplemental feeding until Mother Nature provides more resources. 

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