May

 

Time To Work

Look to unwrapping your hives. This is a good chance to move your strips if you have not done this yet.  If you are looking to a ‘soft’ miticide, they are generally somewhat temperature dependant, so watch the weather and apply as required.

Ensure you have:

Supers

Antibiotics if needed

Mated Queens on order if making nucs

Access to feed and feeding equipment

Extra Information

Early May

Look to unwrapping your hives. This is a good chance to move your strips if you have not done this yet.  If you are looking to a ‘soft’ miticide, they are generally somewhat temperature dependent, so watch the weather and apply as required.

Ensure your hives still have a protein source if they are close to other livestock.  As soon as you see natural pollen, bees will not look at the supplement you have provided them; however, until that time, they will fly in nice weather and source protein from any source they can.  Make sure it is your source and not your neighbors.

If you have the chance to load your dead-outs when you are unwrapping, this will get them out of the field and reduce any risk of passing along the disease to your other hives, depending on what they died from.  If possible, record the yard those dead hives came from.  When you clean-up (scrape) your dead-outs, you can do a ‘post-mortem’ on those hives.  Everything you see / smell can help you figure out why those hives died.  If it is from something such as AFB, which is highly contagious, you can go back and inspect other colonies in that yard, and treat accordingly if necessary.

Post-mortem of beehives

            Starvation

                Mites

                Low population

                Failing queen / drone-layer

                AFB

 

If you are considering making nucs, and depending on your method, you may be able to begin in early May with this work.

Different methods to make your own nucs

Feed when required and by preferred method.  This could be by filling a feeder pail and tipping upside-down on top of the lid; using a frame feeder and filling as required; removing empty frames and replacing with full frames of syrup/honey (generally towards the outside of the cluster or the brood box).

 

Late May

By now your bees are unwrapped and evaluated.  Depending on when you applied your miticide, it may be able to come out now.  Adhere to all withdrawal times regarding miticides and honey flow.

At the completion of your mite treatment, ensure you take a mite sample and record this number for future reference.  If the sample is showing a high number of mites, consider an additional treatment that will not impact your honey flow/quality.

How to take a mite sample

If you are considering making nucs, and depending on your method, you may be able to begin in early May with this work.

Different methods to make your own nucs (generally, the later you make a nuc, the stronger you need to make it.  A general rule of thumb is 3 frames of bees and brood until July 1st, and then you should use a mated queen and 1 extra frame of bees+brood for every week past July 1.)

More and more we see a dearth (a period with very few resources for bees to forage on, including pollen and nectar) from late April – mid-June.  Feed when required and by preferred method (as indicated in early May).

You will need to super as required – this is a difficult time to gauge supering.  Do not add more than one super at a time.  In May, you need to add supers so that the bee population has room to grow – one frame of brood will result in 2 frames of bees.  One of the most common causes of swarming is the bees run out of room and do not have space to grow, so make sure that you stay at least 1 super ahead of them.  However, if you add too many supers at once, having too much volume in the hive for the bees to warm can cause the bees to ‘go backwards’.  If you decide to use a queen excluder, most beekeepers will place it on top of the hive, and below the first honey super.