Malcolm’s Topical Tips – 2017 Jun 22

'The current crazy nectar flow'

Just a word of warning to everybody with a big prosperous colony. Evidently a lot of nectar has been going into large hives and this has been causing a problem. Do make sure that your bees have enough space. You may have to do as Helen has done below and add a frame of foundation into your brood box

Here is Helen's message sent to me this morning.

On checking my brood boxes yesterday, they were all full of nectar, so I removed a frame and gave them all a frame of foundation to draw out. Nectar everywhere!!! Queen cells also in amongst the nectar, brood pattern a mess as they have filled every vacant cell with nectar!!! I did say there was a massive nectar flow on. I think I got it wrong last week when I realised there was a crazy nectar flow I should have given the bees more to do, i.e. Given them frames to draw out.

Remember bees need a lot of space to process nectar and convert it into honey. Being a good beekeeper involves trying to be aware of what is going on in the environment and what the conditions are like and then responding accordingly. These high temperatures have made the clover express nectar(temperatures need to be above 70degrees Fahrenheit) and the bees have been collecting this in quantity. Extremely high temperatures make plants express nectar like crazy as long as there is moisture in the soil ; that is currently the case.

Do remember Margaret Ginman's advice : 'Keep your bees busy and then that will take their minds off swarming'. She says that if you treat your bees like a bunch of adolescent boy teenagers, then you won't go far wrong. A responsible parent would never leave a bunch of young teenage boys with nothing to do, because if they did so there would be trouble. In other words make sure you give your bees something to do because, just like teenage boys, if they have nothing to do then at best you will have a sticky mess, and at worst you will have to cope with swarming.

So that means putting in a frame of foundation into the brood box, and adding supers, preferably with foundation in them. If your bees are busy making wax, they won't want to swarm. And making wax will use up some of the excess nectar they are finding in the environment during this current nectar flow. If today you are one of the people where there is a heavy downpour, watch out as that will make the nectar flow even more.

Malcolm Wilkie 22nd June

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