So you've completed your assessment inspection?
Here's what some of you tell me you've found:
1 – Queen laying above the main brood box
2 – empty honey stores
3 – nectar, pollen and new eggs on one frame
4 – drone brood on the bottom of frames
5 – drone brood in-between hive boxes joining the frames from the top and bottom boxes
6 – some cells which look like queen-cells (more round but big)
Okay here's what I believe each of the above means
1= the colony needs more space
2= colony has been hungry
3= this is great ! This means Spring foraging is well-underway for your colony they are building-up their population : )
4= drones starting to be raised means mating will start in about 23 days
5= the colony needs more space
6= these are preparation cells – not yet queen cells
Okay here's what I think you should do
1= add a super with ten frames with wax foundation wired-in
2= prepare a sugar-syrup feed with Thyme leaves
3= check whether you have more space for the queen to lay – drawn comb is best so if you have empty honey-frames move them down to the each side of the brood frames which have the pollen in – DO NOT ADD IN THE MIDDLE of the brood!
Or add a new hive-box on top with 10 frames with wired-in foundation.
4= you need to check these for VARROA mites!
Varroa love drones because they have the longest gestation cycle – open up capped drone-cells and check the bottom of the larvae for varroa presence – if you see varroa – plan to treat.
5= clean frames up by cutting-off cells and throw away but check these for varroa as well – if you see varroa – treat
6= this means that you will need to check them in 14 days to see if the girls have drawn-out for a queen or if they have eggs inside.
So I conclude currently…
Colonies are starting to build-up, but appear not yet ready to swarm.
Varroa is still present and will build-up quickly.
Drones means the increase in temperature means queens are preparing for local mating
So I recommend above all else…
…take ‘hive-action' ! – add space !
…inspect your hives in 14 days as you will see some BIG changes.
…Prepare your ‘split-gear' NOW !
To prevent swarming – you will need to do a split before queen cells are forming. With our split method you will be able to KEEP your surviving Winter Queen and breed from her. This method will let your bees naturally raise a new-season queen.
…check-out our easy to do split-method article : https://kiwimana.co.nz/how-to-split-a-beehive/
What does my gut say?
Next two weeks?
I think, Swarming is not a huge issue for well-managed hives that have extra laying-space available, but if there is not enough space your colony may swarm.
You can split your hive if you have 9 good frames of brood – so inspect in 2 weeks and record / assess brood levels.
My view is DON'T WAIT until you get queen cells to split – you risk losing your surviving Winter queen and she's worth breeding from because her genetics made it through Winter, varroa, etc.
Well that's it for another week.
…it's the kiwimana buzz…
She loves New Zealand native flora and fauna, her fav is the Kowhai...with Manuka honey close second ; )
Some of you may know that Margaret is a qualified Life Coach, she trained through the Coaching Academy in London and holds DipPC.Adv.