Feeding Pollen Substitute in Winter

... beekeepers who need big strong colonies to take to California for almond pollination in February, and commercial bee producers who need to sell bulk bees in late March to demanding customers (and others) have learned that feeding pollen sub can greatly improve their productivity and profitability.

How does that apply to the hobby beekeeper in middle TN?...

... beekeepers who need big strong colonies to take to California for almond pollination in February, and commercial bee producers who need to sell bulk bees in late March to demanding customers (and others) have learned that feeding pollen sub can greatly improve their productivity and profitability.

How does that apply to the hobby beekeeper in middle TN?...

Syrup Delivery: an overview of honey bee feeders

So let's say that you're now convinced that you do need to feed your honey bees. You go buy some sugar, mix it with some water, and you want to feed it to your bees. But how do you get it to them? That's actually a slightly more complex question than you might think. Let's take a look at some of your options (listed in no particular order) for delivering liquid syrup to your bees along with the pros and cons of each.

So let's say that you're now convinced that you do need to feed your honey bees. You go buy some sugar, mix it with some water, and you want to feed it to your bees. But how do you get it to them? That's actually a slightly more complex question than you might think. Let's take a look at some of your options (listed in no particular order) for delivering liquid syrup to your bees along with the pros and cons of each.

TN Beekeeping Annual Calendar

Annual Schedule for beekeepers – Of course all dates are approximate, and dependant on weather…

January

The Bees will be clustered during cold weather, but it is common for there to be several days  when the weather is warm enough for the bees to fly and cleanse – although little if any forage is available most years.

A small amt of brood production re-starts around mid January.

If hives are  light – or if it is your regular practice – Dry sugar, sugar candy, or pollen sub can be fed on top bars in almost any decent weather.

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Feeding Honey Bees for Beginners

My first year of beekeeping I was surprised to discover how often I had to feed my new pets.  I shouldn’t have been surprised – like all animals honey bees have to eat.

Unfortunately I had done a lot of reading on the Internet and heard that feeding your bees is bad – unnatural, unhealthy, makes them lazy, and swarmy, can cause them to produce brood at the wrong times, etc, etc…  Anyway if you don’t take too much honey from them then they won’t need to be fed.

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Swarm Management for new Beekeepers

New Beekeepers who are successfully over wintering hives for the first time are likely to see their overwintered colonies build up strongly on the early spring nectar flows.

Unfortunately strong overwintered colonies have a natural tendency to reproduce by swarming.

A new honey bee colony is formed when the queen bee leaves the colony with a large group of worker bees, a process called swarming. In the primeswarm, about 60% of the worker bees leave the original hive location with the old queen.
Swarming (honey bee) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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How to Tell if a Hive has Already Swarmed

Honey bee colony populations can increase so rapidly just before swarming that it may not be apparent that a hive has swarmed just by population or entrance activity – although usually both are reduced somewhat. Upon inspection of such a hive you will usually find queen cells along the bottoms of combs (swarm cells) – probably opened where the queen(s) have emerged. There will not usually be a lot of brood in the hive right at the time of swarming because the queen typically runs out – or nearly out – of room to lay eggs in during the run up to swarming. You may find several recently emerged brood cells – which may be filled with nectar. But the main sign of a hive which has recently swarmed are opened swarm cells.

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Really Simple Queen Introduction

Queen introduction is fraught with anxiety – A good queen honey bee is pretty expensive as bugs go and of course you don’t want to take any chances with it. I think I’ve tried most of the common tips – push in cages, making the hive queenless for some period of time, etc. But here is the thing – what really works best for me is a standard candy release. Whether you are making a split, fixing a queenless hive, replacing an old queen or drone layer, installing a package, or dealing with a laying worker hive – this simple method works the same for all. It’s almost fool proof if you follow the simple rules.

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Bee Keeping Basics – Inspections

Inspections

During the bee keeping season (March to November) you need to do weekly inspections.  The purpose of inspecting your hives is to keep them healthy and strong by heading off problems as early as possible before they become a big deal. And especially to avoid colony failures – dead outs.

Upon examination of a hive which has failed you might find that it is infested with hive beetle or wax moth larva, or that it is completely devoid of food stores.  This might lead you to believe that those were the cause of the failure, but chances are that they were just the last of an unfortunate series of events which started much earlier –  Which usually went undetected because the hive was not inspected regularly enough.

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Three Kinds of Brood Comb

There are three kinds of brood comb – one for each caste of honey bee…

Worker comb – Obviously is the comb that worker bees are raised in.  Most of the comb in the brood nest will be worker comb.

Drone Comb – Drone comb is noticeably larger than worker brood – and really does look like corn pops cereal.  The left side of this frame (below) is capped drone brood and the right side is capped worker brood.  This is not an unusually large amount of drone brood and does not indicate a failing or drone laying queen – quite the contrary, a drone brood pattern like this is typical of a healthy hive.  Both kinds of brood comb will be used for honey storage when the hive needs it – and in fact there is nothing wrong with using drone comb in honey supers.

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