Friday, January 7, 2011

LESSON 91: Best Management Practices For Overwintered Colonies (www.honeybeesonline.com)

DavidSheriNewWe are David & Sheri Burns from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms and we are glad you’ve joined us for another lesson in beekeeping.
We are located in central Illinois where it is cold and snowy and the bees can’t wait until a nice warm day and neither can we.
I was going to jump into some lessons on Top Bar Hives, but I’m going to save that after this series of lessons.
There is plenty of information in the beekeeping literature to help beginners. But there is far less information that goes into great detail about what to do with your bees the second year as they come out of winter. In today’s lesson and over the course of the next few blogs I’ll address what you should be doing with your bees as winter draws to a close and spring makes its usual grand entry.

LESSON 91: BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES FOR OVERWINTERED COLONIES
There is plenty of information in the beekeeping literature to help beginners. But there is far less information that goes into great detail about what to do with your bees the second year as they come out of winter. I'll take the next few articles to address what you should be doing with your bees as winter draws to a close and spring makes its usual grand entry. The first thing you should do is celebrate and rejoice that your bees made it through a long winter. After you've had sufficient time to celebrate, you'll need to get serious about helping your bees have a great season. I've made an acronym to make it easier to remember how to prepare your bees for their second seasons:
Stimulate For Rapid Foraging Force Prevent Swarms Rotate Hive Bodies Inspect The Productivity Of The Queen New Queen Give 1:1 Sugar Water & Pollen Patties
In this lesson, we'll look at how to stimulate your late winter bees for a rapid buildup of the foraging force. A colony that is very populated with foragers will be able to gather more pollen, nectar, propolis and water. This alone will make a much healthier colony. And if you desire to increase your honey yields per hive, increasing your foraging force is essential.
How can you help your colony build up a huge foraging force to gather an abundance of resources? To start, we have to do the math. We have to work backwards to arrive at our target stimulation date. Let's randomly choose May 1st as the day we want our full foraging force.
By foraging force I mean a maximum number of worker bees of foraging age. Since worker bees take 21 days to emerge and another 21 days until they take their first foraging flight, that gives us a total of 42 days. So we want our queen to be laying at her maximum 42 days prior to May 1st, which would be March 20th. But, we'll need to stimulate the queen about a week before March 20th so that she can be at her maximum laying on March 20th. Bingo, March 13th is our date that we will want to manipulate the colony to ensure we have our full foraging force for May 1st.
To stimulate our queen to lay at her maximum we would normally want a natural, heavy nectar flow. That might be the case the further south you live. In central Illinois I will have to introduce pollen substitute patties and a 1:1 sugar feedings to stimulate my queen to start laying prior to the natural nectar flow. And once I start, I cannot stop, because the colony is counting on my pollen and sugar water to feed to their larva. Even the adult bees feeding the larva need this same food so the glands in their head can produce the much need brood food.
Of course you'll need to be sure you have a prolific queen and you'll be able to determine this once the temperature warms up above 65 (F) and you can lift out brood frames and inspect for eggs and sealed brood.
…next time we’ll look at Spring Swarm Prevention
We hope you are finding our lessons very helpful and if you can, please purchase all your beekeeping needs from us! We sell packages of bees, 4 frame nucs, raise and sell our own queens and we manufacture beekeeping equipment as well. Make us your one stop shop for all your beekeeping needs. Thank you in advance.
HERE’S OUR CONTACT INFORMATION:
PHONE: 217-427-2678
EMAIL:
david@honeybeesonline.com
WEB: www.honeybeesonline.com
TWITTER: http://twitter.com/longlanehoney

See you next time,
David & Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms
14556 N. 1020 E. Rd
Fairmount, IL 61841

1 comment:

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