Just a gentle caution at this time of year, especially to you beginners.

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jenkinsbrynmair 

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Well, we're already seeing (or is it wishful thinking) the first harbingers of spring - snowdrops, crocuses,catkins, the odd cuckoo (on here at least)temperatures are rising a tad and people are already opening up their hives :eek::banghead:; BUT WE'RE NOT OUT OF THE WOODS YET! mid March has often seen heavy snowfall and frosts and we can't be guaranteed forage for the bees.
More importantly nownot midwinter is the likeliest time of seeing starvation wipe out your colonies. Winter stores are getting depleted, bees are getting a lot more active, brood rearing has started in earnest - there may be a little pollen out there (and bees are burning up the carbs collecting it) but there's precious little nectar and it's still cold. So no taking your eye off the ball and resting on your laurels keep hefting those hives and, if you have fondant on make sure there's a ready supply for the bees. Not long to go now before we have the spring proper, but remember - the darkest hour is before the dawn, so be vigilant! :D
 

Roola 

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wise words JBM, been keeping a close eye on mine and many are on the fondant as felt light!
 

theeggman 

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Well, we're already seeing (or is it wishful thinking) the first harbingers of spring - snowdrops, crocuses,catkins, the odd cuckoo (on here at least)temperatures are rising a tad and people are already opening up their hives :eek::banghead:; BUT WE'RE NOT OUT OF THE WOODS YET! mid March has often seen heavy snowfall and frosts and we can't be guaranteed forage for the bees.
More importantly nownot midwinter is the likeliest time of seeing starvation wipe out your colonies. Winter stores are getting depleted, bees are getting a lot more active, brood rearing has started in earnest - there may be a little pollen out there (and bees are burning up the carbs collecting it) but there's precious little nectar and it's still cold. So no taking your eye off the ball and resting on your laurels keep hefting those hives and, if you have fondant on make sure there's a ready supply for the bees. Not long to go now before we have the spring proper, but remember - the darkest hour is before the dawn, so be vigilant! :D
:iagree:Well said that man.
 

inthewoods 

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glad to say i missed the boat ..still keeping close eye on store's water ..not tempted as a newbie myself to rush in .they all seem happy today .
 

Erichalfbee 

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:iagree:
Keep an eye on those stores and leave the brood box alone.
 

Tremyfro 

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Possibly...5 and a bit...depends on the bees.
Excellent advice....thank you.
 

Swarm 

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JBM, you're just repeating yourself ;)
 

MikeT 

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JBM two posts for the price of one. Excellent advise from a learned gentleman!:iagree:
 

Erichalfbee 

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Well......it was so good he said it twice :)
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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JBM, you're just repeating yourself ;)
Must have been the overload of garlic in my pheasant cassoulet this evening :D problem with 'tinternet when I was sending the post - reboot caused the repeat I suspect - I'm sure HM will sort it out before long
 

midnight sun 

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Well, we're already seeing (or is it wishful thinking) the first harbingers of spring - snowdrops, crocuses,catkins, the odd cuckoo (on here at least)temperatures are rising a tad and people are already opening up their hives :eek::banghead:; BUT WE'RE NOT OUT OF THE WOODS YET! mid March has often seen heavy snowfall and frosts and we can't be guaranteed forage for the bees.
More importantly nownot midwinter is the likeliest time of seeing starvation wipe out your colonies. Winter stores are getting depleted, bees are getting a lot more active, brood rearing has started in earnest - there may be a little pollen out there (and bees are burning up the carbs collecting it) but there's precious little nectar and it's still cold. So no taking your eye off the ball and resting on your laurels keep hefting those hives and, if you have fondant on make sure there's a ready supply for the bees. Not long to go now before we have the spring proper, but remember - the darkest hour is before the dawn, so be vigilant! :D
This post is very a useful reminder. it also has a strange warm, friendly sort of air about it............get well soon!
Dave:D
 

demig 

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Got the fondant on up here in Northumberland, pollen coming in and bees looking good but can easily get very cold again up here! Year 2 for me, 1 colony taken through last winter 6 going through ok so far this winter, amazing how this hobby grabs you :)

Demig
 

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Cheers jenkinsbrynmair. stay calm and bee alert at all times. Will check on my girls tomorrow but for now I will chill, stay warm and drink me red wine.
 

pargyle 

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temperatures are rising a tad and people are already opening up their hives
It's apparently sub tropical in CHESHIRE ... Beekeeping in shirt sleeves and supers going on ...

Think I need to move from the Costa del Fareham ....:sunning::sunning:
 

AndrewE 

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It's apparently sub tropical in CHESHIRE ... Beekeeping in shirt sleeves and supers going on ...

Think I need to move from the Costa del Fareham ....:sunning::sunning:
Try reading the post more carefully: I said GARDENING in shirtsleeves, and with bees flying vigorously it's not too soon to put a super on. Some people deliberately leave lots of supers on hives right through the winter, and in the wild a colony might have several years worth of stores (i.e. lots of space) stretching up above a cluster that has filled combs way down in its cavity.

I certainly wouldn't inspect for a week or two (or more) - it depends entirely on the weather, which might yet shut down into winter again (but maybe I do live in a patch with an unusually good microclimate.) I suspect I did no more harm to my colonies (if any) than these people currently removing supers from under their brood boxes... What a pantomime that is! They should try using just 10 14 x 12 frames and a dummy in the pair of boxes and avoid the worry of when to start disturbing frames.

There is no doubt that congestion is one of the main drivers of swarming, and knowledgable beekeepers will agree that shortage of space occurs far more quickly than most people realise. A good point made at one of our meetings last spring (especially for beginners, but some old hands don't seem to be able to get it) was that bees walking round on the comb take up twice as much space as when they were brood in it. This is why brood boxes get congested very quickly, and the super space is needed to house the growing workforce long before there is any honey or nectar to be seen - they are consuming it all in their work building up the colony.

So many people are perplexed by early swarms, but when questioned about the circumstances admit they only have 1 super on a single National brood box...
 
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pargyle 

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Try reading the post more carefully: I said GARDENING in shirtsleeves, and with bees flying vigorously it's not too soon to put a super on. ......

I certainly wouldn't inspect for a week or two (or more) - it depends entirely on the weather, which might yet shut down into winter again (but maybe I do live in a patch with an unusually good microclimate.) .........

So many people are perplexed by early swarms, but when questioned about the circumstances admit they only have 1 super on a single National brood box...

Yeh ... whatever .... as I said elsewhere ... if it works for you, then that's fine by me ... your bees.

I would agree about the bees needing space once they start brooding ... but there again, I run 14 x 12 and I also left a super full of honey on top of one hive and 12 frames of honey in my 14 x 12 long hive for them to overwinter on so I will have space in them. But this is very different to putting two empty supers on top of the brood box at this time of year and starting inspections imminently - which, as I understand it, was what you were doing ? Or perhaps I misunderstood ?

"p.m. put queen excluders and the first couple of supers on.....

What's next? proper inspections in a week or two
."
 
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Erichalfbee 

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Well, I have glanced at three of mine with see through tops and the loose cluster has plenty of space.....for now.
As for taking nadired shallows off......it took me about 40 seconds per hive, new floor next to box, crack brood off, move, take away old floor and shallow, slide colony over; didn't even suit up.
 

enrico 

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Well, I have glanced at three of mine with see through tops and the loose cluster has plenty of space.....for now.
As for taking nadired shallows off......it took me about 40 seconds per hive, new floor next to box, crack brood off, move, take away old floor and shallow, slide colony over; didn't even suit up.
Exactly.....but bearing in mind this is in the beginners section I would suggest that suiting up is adviseable! :hairpull:
E
 

Erichalfbee 

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You're right, enrico.
I did the remaining two this morning and got stung on the bottom :(
 
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