It’s spring, and new beekeepers always wonder when and what to feed. In the spring, it's important to provide both pollen patties and liquid feed for balanced nutrition. Think of it like steak and potatoes for your bees.
If you are a beginner beekeeper, knowing if there are enough honey stores can be hard to figure out on your very first overwintered hive check. The simplest way to check if there are enough stores is to gently lift your hive from the bottom board (without disturbing the hive too much).If it is very light and easy to lift, you DO NOT have enough stores.
Every province and city has different regulations, but most require all or at least one of these. Beekeeping falls under agriculture and for important reasons. The government sets out regulations for the beekeeping industry, monitors disease and supports beekeepers with current information and inspections as needed. Check your provincial and municipal government websites to see what is required.
Bees that overwinter live almost entirely inside the hive. Bees usually only leave for cleansing flights on days when temperatures are above 14°C. It is risky leaving the hive on days less than this because their wings can freeze at 10°C, and they risk not making it back to the hive.
COVID and beekeeping in 2021. There may still be some delays with shipping bees and equipment, but it shouldn’t be as extreme as it was in 2020 due to the air travel restrictions. Hopefully more live bees will be coming through from New Zealand for early spring for most companies as planned.
You may have found yourself going into overwintering and still struggling with Varroa mites this year. It is extremely important to treat your mites as it can weaken your hive or ultimately kill your hive.
Other great ideas. Beekeeping books like Beekeeping in Western Canada, beekeeping magazines (like Hive Lights or Bee Culture). Find a special journal to write their beekeeping field notes throughout the year.
Medicated Syrup with Fumigilan-B. If you need to treat your bees for Nosema, there is an easy way to do it with your syrup. Simply add the Fumigilan-B to the syrup mixture at your last feed. In our last Meet The Beekeeper, we showed you how to add it to a plastic bag, and place it on the inner cover hole (watch our video at 24:50).
Infused Raw or creamed honey can also be infused with different flavours from habanero to lemon. Infusing honey is relatively simple too. You just need a clean jar, put the flavor of choice in the bottom and let it sit for 5-7 days so it absorbs the flavor.
As a beekeeper, you need to learn the difference between swarm cells and supersedure cells. Every beekeeper’s goal is to have a surplus of honey they can harvest, so you need to manage your hive and understand when you should worry, and when it’s part of the hive’s survival.
Many new beekeepers don’t want more bees, but people need to understand that your honey bees go under a huge population explosion unlike anywhere else in the world in July. You need to ensure that you have a strategy in place so that they don’t swarm. If you don’t do something to manage your hive, they will swarm, and you will lose out on your honey crop.
It’s May now, and it’s very important you look at your hive and do a mite test. The Alberta apiculturist encourages you to test two to three times during spring and early summer. If you even find one mite in a test of 100 bees, you need to do a treatment.