Dreaming of Spring? I know I am! See Article Below on Preparing for Spring
Our goal at Two Bees Apiary is to help beekeepers with resources and information. We know that being keepers of bees, questions come up about our little hive buddies and the things that go along with them. If you have suggestions for Beekeepers Resources, please let us know. Contact us here.
Preparing for Spring: I would like to believe Spring 2017 beekeeping season is finally here! Even though we are still having chilly temperatures, and enough rain to last us a long time! You may wonder, do I really need to start thinking and preparing for spring now? The beekeepers answer is yes. I have even heard of some beekeepers thinking about swarms and doing splits.
In the last few weeks we have had some sunny days with mild temperatures, and hopefully, we you have seen your bees out flying. Often they will have moved to the upper box over the winter and are active on such a day. Lift the back of the hive and feel how heavy, or light it seems. Based on the activity and size of your colonies, and how much food you think they may have, you may consider feeding them. This is a tricky year as the bees start to "wake up", but our spring flowers with pollen and nectar are still a little behind and yet to join them.
These early spring months are a great time to catch up on reading beekeeping information, and begin to get a list together of equipment you need to buy, repair, or replace. If you are just starting out, find a handy Equipment Checklist on our website.
If you are just beginning beekeeping here are a few suggestions:
It is always a good idea to join a beekeeping club, go to workshops, or take a course. Watch for Two Bees Apiary New Courses running in the spring! Some of the best advice you will get comes from those with the experience of trying many different ideas and methods out there. Ask five beekeepers, get seven answers! You can find out what has worked for them, what has been a challenge, a blatant disaster, or something you never would have thought of doing yourself. Then you can form your own opinion.
Check into your local bylaws. Meeting the criteria will keep the neighbours, and ultimately you and the bees happy.
Give yourself lots of time to put your equipment together, especially if it’s your first time. Your hive bodies and supers can be painted to give them longer life. If you paint, you may want to get a couple of coats on. Many beekeepers are now using a more natural look, leaving the boxes as is, or using an eco-friendly stain.
Play with fire, yes, its okay this time! Get used to your smoker, practice lighting it and keeping it lit. Please do so in an appropriate setting. The object is to generate cool smoke that will last for a while. Though I tend to not use a lot of smoke, I like using it to mask stings. Its getting hardert o find nucs of bees this time of year. Another reason to be part of a club, as they often have the inside scoop.
If you have been beekeeping for a few years you may want to take an inventory of:
- Hive bodies: do they need to be repainted or replaced? Do you need to add to your expanding apiary? - Frames: Any broken ones requiring repair or need replacement? Do you need to add to your expanding apiary? - Foundation: If any appears damaged, old, or possibly diseased, replace it. - Look over your hive tools, smoker, and protective clothing. Anything need to be fixed, cleaned, or replaced?
By taking a little time now, you will ensure a smoother spring start.