Despite the polar vortex that has embraced much of Canada this month, some bees may have experienced warm weather spells since January 1 and this could have triggered them to initiate a small brood nest.
For Alberta this could be especially true south of Red Deer, in chinook territory. The thing to know is that when it gets cold again, the bee cluster will contract to keep the queen warm - at the expense of the brood.
Also - the bees age much more quickly in the hive once brood-rearing begins. This is a common cause of winter loss that's often mistaken for starvation.
If you find you have lost your bees when the weather warms, look at the comb for a ring or patches of capped cells in the cluster area. This is a sign of premature brood rearing.
In terms of a remedy, consider using a queen strain that is better suited or acclimatized for your climate.
If you have any questions on this or other issues, please contact Hiveworld.ca at any time.
As your bees prepare for the main flow they are building their population and the queen is heading toward her maximum laying capacity of approximately 1,500 eggs per day. In Alberta, we see a huge population explosion unlike anywhere else in the world. Your hive can have 80,000 bees!
Varroa mitesare the most deadly pest affecting western bees and can kill bee colonies in short periods of time. Monitoring and testing throughout the spring and summer is essential to keeping your hive healthy. If varroa mites are not properly treated throughout the beekeeping season, it can destroy an entire colony.