Early Spring Cleaning in the Beeyard

Hey, want to hang out with me and my bees for 18 minutes? Let’s go:

The video is mostly me pointing and talking about beekeeping things, such as:

00:00 — How the sun warms up my hives at certain times of the day.
02:25 — Reducing a colony down to a single deep.
03:50 — Dampness in some of the hives. (I know, pretty exciting, eh?)
04:10 — Wanting to convert to all-medium hives.
04:25 — Finding dead bees on the bottom board.
04:50 — My thoughts on the misguided #SaveTheBees campaign. For example, well-intentioned but misinformed people who think they’re saving a bee by giving it dissolved sugar in a spoon or and even putting out syrup feeders like this to help bees in the spring, when really it’s best to let bees die outside the hive as they naturally would so they don’t bring disease back to the colony. Bees die by themselves for a reason.
06:00 — The bees are gentle at this time of year, orienting to the hive, scenting, etc., not stingy at all.
07:35 — Explaining how I just moved a hive and reduced it to a single deep.
07:45 — A careful inspection of the left over empty frames and the dead bees in the bottom board.
12:00 — Examining the left over drawn comb from the bottom deep of an over-wintered hive, including comb with holes drilled through it.
13:30 — I actually lick some comb to determine if it’s full of honey or syrup (it was syrup).
15:00 — Predicting that my single-deep colony could grow into a full double-deep colony by June (I hope).
15:30 — Honey bees digging into the crocuses I planted around my house.
16:45 — The aftermath of me pulling a hive apart. I don’t mention this in the video, but often we open a hive for the first time in the spring and see tonnes of bees thinking it must be a huge colony. But usually the bees are only filling half the hive, if that. Again, it’s not in the video, but I’d say I found about 8 frames of bees and two or three frames of open brood (no capped brood). That’s pretty much what I like to see at this time of year. The queen is getting going and things are looking good.

3 thoughts on “Early Spring Cleaning in the Beeyard

  1. I just reverse the hive boxes,( certainly lighter this time of year) clean up debris on the bottom board.
    Pollen patty, maybe 1:1 sugar syrup this weekend. My yard has a lot of shade this time of year.
    Thanks for explaining “ scenting “…..hope you had a good walk.

    • Hi Sheree — you’re one of the few people who still leave comments on the blog. Most people these days, for some reason, send me messages through email. But I don’t mind either way.

      I wish I recorded what I did yesterday, but you still get a pretty good sense of what I did and what I saw, especially the empty deep. I could have reversed that hive, no problem. It’s exactly the kind of situation that calls for reversing. The bottom deep is empty and full of drawn comb. The bees are contained to a single deep so the brood nest doesn’t get split up. Instead, I just removed the empty deep and I’ll wait until the single deep is full of brood before I expand the hive. That’s something I’ve been doing for the past year or so — giving the bees the minimum amount of space they need in the spring so (in theory) they focus their attention on the few frames they have instead of scattering all over the place trying to work something out with another deep full of frames.

      I don’t know if it makes any difference, but so far it doesn’t seem to hurt, so we’ll see what happens.

  2. Hi Phillip,
    Thanks for the informative video “Early Spring Cleaning in Beeyard”. Today in Northeast Pa we
    finally have sun & a warm day ahead. Glad you are back doing beekeeping things and sharing your wealth of knowledge. Getting ready to do a spring inspection on my 2 hives but wanted a little
    mentor backup to refresh my brain. Thanks. Stay safe & healthy.
    Lynnie A

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