- Spring is here, or it supposedly is here in Ohio…but beekeepers, gardeners, and farmers are excited with hope of the possibilities that lie ahead. Let’s make the most out of the next few weeks by preparing for the healthiest bee reproduction and honey production yet. Here’s my thoughts on beekeeping and what to do in the spring.
Spring Beekeeping: Check your Hives
Now is the time to check bee hives and maintain them and spruce them up a bit.
- Paint the base and evaluate the structure of each hive
- Level the base while noting the support of the foundation
- Remove guards
- Provide food supplementation with either sugar water or bee pollen patties or both
- Order extra supplies
These activities are the foreplay of beekeeping. But the most exciting spring event for me, is finding the queen cells and splitting the colonies.
Spring Beekeeping: Split your Hives
If I successfully divide the colonies in April, by August 15, I should have doubled my producing colonies. The “ABC and XYZ of Beekeeping” pg 212-213- Root publishing, Medina, Ohio, (my home town), indicates that this is a fairly easy process that novice beekeepers can accomplish.
- Remove the top super
- Place it on a new foundation consisting of several bricks or cement blocks
- Raise the new split above the damp ground.
- Continue to nurture the hive with a new queen or a frame with a queen cell.
- Add honey frames on either side to provide nourishment for the new hive.
Each split needs to be fed sugar water and pollen patties to “encourage the drawing of foundation.” Honey, pollen and young larvae need to be present in each chamber. The introduction of a new queen is recommended, however raising queens from queen cells is a possibility as well. It is just a longer process.
Now is the time to “rev ” up your hope and aspirations for the 2019 farming of your bee colonies. Now is the time to learn something new about honey bees. Now is the opportunity to grow as a beekeeper. I’m headed outside right now…come join me or support bees by eating their raw honey. If you are interested in raw honey or bee products visit my honey bee products page.