A YEAR IN THE APIARY - CENTRAL MAINE
Bill Truesdell’s Comment
Even though February is the normal time for ordering bees, you might want to do so
now. If other areas have a bad winter, bees may be in short supply. Why not trysomething new- like a different bee race, or shifting to mediums or even, heavenforbid, plastic foundation.
Order package bees for late April--early May arrival
Check wintering colonies for honey reserves by hefting hive
Reposition stores or feed dry sugar or candy if needed. (LateFeb.)
Check colony conditions, if food reserves are short, feed candy
Candy is the preferred food. It is concentrated and has it’s own water supply. Make
it by bringing a pint of water and five pounds of sugar to 240F and pour in greased
Colonies that consume feed should be monitored and fed as
cookie sheet. After cooling, break into four pieces, one for each hive. It can be
placed on the inner cover or directly over the cluster (preferred method ~ just place
Protein supplements for brood production may be started
on the top of the frames and flip inner cover so deepest part faces down)
Note that Terramycin is dusted and not in patties. Resistant strains of AFB have
Feed medicated light sugar syrup medicated with Fumidil B
been found and seem to be related to using grease patties to distribute
Begin to dust with Terramycin (follow label directions ~ mix
The preferred method of checking for Varroa is sticky boards or ether roll.
Varroa collapse can come quickly if other hives in the area are heavily infested
Scrape bottom boards; do not examine the colony unless the
and your strong hives rob those weak ones, so check your hives. If you see bees
with K-wing or deformed, you may be heavily infested and collapse may be
Install package bees April 15th or later and feed light syrup
Be sure to remove and properly dispose the Apistan strips thatcome with package bees.
Apply Apistan (10%) strips to wintered colonies if Varroa isdetected (mid-late April).
Reverse brood chambers and inspect brood pattern for disease
To reverse or not to reverse. I no longer reverse my hives and see no problems. You
might want to try not reversing a hive and see what happens.
Divide and re-queen colonies at fruit bloom via multiple frame
But I do manage for swarming by splitting my hives on the stand and raising a
second queen. Reversing or splitting does the same thing; they give the queen room
Complete the 3rd dusting with Terramycin in accordance with
and reduce the possibility of swarming. So if you do not reverse, you still have to do
Manipulate package bee colonies to aid in comb constructionand inspect for health and a properly laying queen.
Apply menthol or Apistan to wintered colonies if neededaccording to label directions
Manage colonies for population buildup and swarm prevention
You can leave grease patties on for tracheal mites all year long, even during
Add second brood chamber to package colonies
honey flows. Grease patties are made from 2 parts sugar to one part Crisco and
Remove antibiotics and pesticides prior to the addition of honey
formed into a hamburger patty and placed between brood boxes.
A scientifically untested treatment for Varroa is mineral oil. Soak a paper towelin vegetable or mineral oil and squeeze out the surplus. Put one towel in eachhive and do so once every two weeks, three times. It will not prevent Varroa butreduces the number of mites. It also helps with tracheal mites. But don’t throwout the Apistan. I still use it in the fall
Bill Truesdell’s Comment
Of all the management techniques, harvesting at the end of July instead of
Harvest honey at the end of July or when honey flow slows
waiting until September or October is the most effective. It may seem you get
Place an empty super on those colonies that have honey in the
less honey by pulling it all off “early”, but the truth is, if you follow this
2nd brood chamber or above a queen excluder (use an inner
method, you will consistently have more honey year after year. I believe the key
cover) for those colonies that have mostly brood in both brood
reason is the bees fill the deeps with summer honey and over winter on it.
Fall honey is terrible for over-wintering bees. It causes dysentery and will
Colonies, which have excessive brood and adult bee population,
weaken a hive so it is less productive the next year. By putting your extracted
should be left with one super full of honey at harvest time.
supers over the inner cover, the bees will take that honey down and when the
Monitor Varroa mite populations. A quick treatment may be
fall honey starts flowing, fill the supers. I usually get at least one and more often
necessary prior to the addition of honey supers for the fall honey
Extract in early August if you did not do so in late July.
The super you add will be over the inner cover.
Set up for fall flow and position brood and honey reserves inanticipation of winter
Add one honey super during goldenrod bloom if needed.
I save the uncapped frames for last and extract them separately. You can use
this honey for mead or add it to the heated capping honey for cooking.
Partially filled honey supers should be fed back to the bees
I put in the Apistan Strips at the same time I remove the supers. You need to get
two brood cycles after you apply Apistan, so any later and you lose this. The
queen will stop laying in October or November and you want to kill off the
Reduce entrances, medicate and apply mite treatments after
mites in the brood cycle. When she stops laying, you are too late and the
Finish feeding medicated syrup (Fumidil B) and 3rd Terramycindusting
Remove Apistan if colonies were treated in August. Followlabel instructions
Provide upper ventilation via one of the many methods i.e.
I do not wrap but my hives are painted battleship gray. And I use a fiberboard
fiberboard, Styrofoam, super with insulation, etc.
all year long. It is an excellent tool for removing excess moisture from a hive. In
Remove Apistan from colonies prior to wrapping
addition, it acts as a water source for the bees. It is essential for over-wintering
Wrap colonies with tar paper or commercial wrap by
Another great debate- to flip the inner cover or not- seems to be coming down
on the side of leaving it alone. In the spring, when you feed candy, you will
have to flip it if you put the candy over the cluster, but leave it as is if you put iton the inner cover
Hope for a January thaw so the bees have a cleansing flight
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