Year-Round Hive Management
Spring: Check the colony when the weather is warm (12C+). The presence of a queen is confirmed by the presence of eggs at the bottom of cells in centrally located combs. The presence of drone cells may indicate a drone-laying queen or laying workers (queenless colony). Unite the colony with another or replace the queen. If stores in the hive are low, feed cane sugar syrup (1:1, by weight) From early April through June, check colony/colonies every 10-14 days. Clean bottom boards, replace broken combs or excessive drone comb as required. Nectar flows may occur with maple (late April), and blackberries (June), Swarming usually occurs in late April or early May. To prevent swarming, reverse brood boxes and provide plenty of room for expansion of brood nest and storage of nectar. Check for queen cells, and if found, destroy. Check Varroa levels using a sticky board or alcohol wash. Treat if Varroa level is above an acceptable threshold. Use recommended miticides at the temperature required. May is a dearth period, therefore, watch the stores, and feed sugar syrup (1:1 ratio) if required.
Early Summer: Surplus honey (late June –mid August) may be produced in fireweed dominated clear-cuts in the mountains
Late Summer: Generally, honey is taken off at end of August. Do not remove capped frames of honey from the second brood chamber. Reduce entrance. Treat for Varroa after all the surplus honey has been removed.
Fall: Select colonies for overwintering, re-queen or unite weak hives. Each colony needs 50-80 lbs. and two frames of pollen to overwinter. If stores are down, feed sugar syrup at a 2 sugar:1 water ratio, finish by mid-October so bees can evaporate the moisture