Spring time work plan


Spring time work plan

1 st Round – 1 st week of April

After the hives leave the shed they generally sit without to much disturbance for the first couple days to settle, orientate and stretch their wings after their long winter. Open feeding is provided to jump start brood rearing. Attention is put towards pulling out dead equipment and attending to hives sitting on low food stores. During the first round bee samples are taken for varroa counts and then sent away for further nosema and viral analyses to develop an adequate disease control strategy.

Colony assessment

 pulling out dead, emergency feeding with frames of honey as needed

Supplemental feeding,

 feeding dry protein supplement, soyflour and BeePro fed in barrel feeders,

Ultrabee fed in the blue self feeders open feeding of syrup, HBH and Amino B Boost supplemented in the syrup

Disease control

 Random sampling of bees throughout the yards

 alcohol wash live bees

– mite count, sample sent away for nosema, tracheal,

– sent away for a viral disease analysis

 Samples will be sent to

 National Bee Diagnostic Centre

Box 1118, 1 Research Road

Beaverlodge, AB. T0H 0C0

NBDC sampling procedure and submissions forms are attached

From this information a treatment plan will be developed

2 nd round – 2 nd week of April

The second round will start immediately after the first round has been completed. This round involves a more detailed colony assessment identifying and marking the strengths of the colonies by tipping the boxes and counting the frames of bees. Strong, medium and small colonies will be identified and those hives will be taken to corresponding strong, medium and small named holding yards.

During this round protein patties will be fed to help supplement the hive’s diet to ensure they have adequate resources during periods of poor foraging spring weather. All supplemental syrup feeding will be done through open feeding. The syrup will be diluted with water to thin the syrup mimicking actual nectar but only thinned as they consume the feed quickly to ensure the feed does not ferment and spoil.

During this round I will also start my in hive disease treatments. Apivar will be used with a one or two strip treatment according to the colony size. Supporting varroa mite treatments will be done if needed. Oxytet dusting of the hives will start and will be carried out over three consecutive treatments 10 days apart. Oxytet is used during the spring as a AFB preventative measure because of the increased risk to outside infection during times of high robbing. Oxytet

is also used during the spring to treat potential EFB infections which seem to accompany cooler stressed spring seasons. This time of year is too early to visually inspect the hives for visual brood nest infections.

 Colony assessment

 Identify and mark

 large - 5 frame of bees plus

 medium – 3-5 frames of bees

 small – 3 frames of bees and less

 move hives into corresponding holding yards

 Supplemental feeding

 continued open feeding of dry protein supplement and syrup until tree bloom feed each hive a prepared protein patty, amount depending on size of the colony

 patties will be prepared on an as need basis to keep the patties fresh and

 to minimize waste recipe and handling instructions will be attached

Disease control

 the results from the 1 st round sampling will help form an adequate disease treatment plan. Two main treatments will be planned;

 Varroa mite control will take place on this second round



 Oxytet will be administered to each hive, 3 treatmenst carried out every

10 days

3 rd Round – 3 rd week of April

The third round will start immediately after the second round work is done or two or three weeks after brooding starts. This round digs into the brood nest to carry out visual colony performance assessments. This time is spent assessing the queen’s performance and spent performing a visual on disease. I have adopted flagging systems to mark hives further attention; white flag (attention) for queen issues orange flag (caution) for disease issues as in DWV, EFB, Chalkbrood red flag (immediate attention) for AFB and any serious issue needing attention ASAP

As the hives enter into late spring natural pollen and nectar flows will start which will satisfy all of the bees nutritional needs during this period of time. All open feeding will end and monitoring of the brood nest for incoming natural feed will be done on a weekly basis randomly throughout the

Apiary. Monitoring of the nest for incoming nourishment will allow me to more accurately determine when to resume supplemental feeding. Patty feeding will only continue if the colonies are consuming them or if incremental weather settles in and the hives run into a protein deficit.

More sugar will be mixed into the patty later on to increase consumption.

Colony assessment

 Visually inspecting for queen presence

 looking for eggs or brood

 checking for laying pattern and assessing the initial queen performance.

 queens with poor patterns or poor performance will be white flagged (attention) for future reference

 visual inspectiong for brood diseases ( listed under Disease Control)

 visual inspection for available food ( listed under Supplemental Feeding)

 visual inspection to ensure the colony has adequate space

 seconds added to hives needed more room – strong yards

 these hives will be candidates for full splits mid May

Supplemental Feeding

 visual inspection for available food within the hive

 The colonies will be assessed for available food stores by

 inspecting brood frames

Patties will be added to hives who had finished the first one.

Increase of sugar will be added to patties at this time to increase consumption in anticipation to the pollen flow. monitoring of the food stores within the colony brood nest will be conducted as assessing “wet” or “dry” hives by observing nectar, pollen and royal jelly availability in and around the brood

 supplemental feeding will take place accordingly

Continued open dry protein supplement feeding until the bees quit taking it due to natural pollen and nectar availability

Honey frames will be added to hives short on stored feed or the colony will be fed a pail of syrup if there is no longer any honey frames available.

Disease control

 visual inspection for brood diseases

 EFB and Chalk brood identification

Samples taken and colonies orange flagged (caution)

Oxytet treatment will be administered following the already ongoing treatment schedule

 AFB identification

 Frames with scale removed and burnt

Hive red flagged (immediate attention)

Hives with vegetative AFB symptoms will be red flagged and removed from the yard that evening and taken to an isolated yard. The hive will be shaken out into an empty box with foundation and fed a sugar syrup medicated with

Oxytet to rebuild a disease free nest

 All comb will be removed and completely burnt in my incinerator

 The tops, bottom and box will be scrapped down and disinfected with bleach

 Sticky board testing on a random number of hives throughout the apiary to help determine the efficacy of the Apivar treatments

 Visual inspection of the adult bees looking for DWV

 Hive will be orange flagged when symptoms of DWV are found

4 th round, Split – 1 st week of May - June

The fourth round starts in the beginning of May and the focus is in the brood nest. This round is when we prepare all the yards and “split” the hives. The split round consists of everything from

splitting the hives, requeening, skimming off nucs, and slashing down hives into nucs. Because

I have my yards split into different yards according to their strength and condition I plan the spring split round to target optimum split conditions. Mated queen orders have been placed starting the 2 nd week of May through til the 1 st week of June. These queens are used to make up splits, to requeen and to make up nucs. Requeening will be done within the “medium” and

“small” yards and will be done anytime through May. All work priority is taken right off these hives and I put towards the split hives, “strong” yards. The split work is scheduled middle to late

May which targets the optimum in hive conditions to carry out this work. Before and after the split work the focus will be directed towards the “medium” yards to carry out requeening, equilizing and skimming to make nucs. After all my split work and requeening work is completed the focus then goes towards the “small” yards to which the hives are all slashed down to make up nucs.

The overall objective of the split round is to bring the entire operation to a uniform strength by working through the nest one time.

 Colony assessment

 A standing order of 600 queens has been set up with BeeMaid with pre arranged delivery times divided through the second week of May till the first week of June. After I set the hives out and make my initial hive

 assessment I will amend the order to suit my split round plans. Extra queens are used up by increasing the requeening rate or by making up more nucs. Cancellations are done rarely ONLY if conditions warrant it and at least three weeks before delivery dates.

 All queen ordering work is done on a face to face basis

Hives will be manipulated to target a strength of 4 frames of brood/ 8 frames of bees last week of May

 Strong hive yards

 Strong hive yards will be managed in two boxes by mid

May. Three days prior to the queen arrival the hives will have the brood equalized between the two boxes.

 That evening the hive are broken into two units and both units are taken out to a summer yard location.

 Three days later each box is checked for the presence of a queen and a queen cage is introduced into queenless hives. Sugar/HBH spray is used to help mask the colony sent to help increase queen acceptance

4-5 days later the queen will be manual released

Any parent hive that is white flagged or shows questionable queen performance will have its queen pinched automatically

 Medium hive yards

Each hive is worked through to the required strength and extra strength is taken away to make up nucs or added to boost another colony

 Any hive that is white flagged or shows questionable queen performance is re-queened.

 The medium hive group is targeted for requeening and the amount of hives requeened will depend on the amount of queens available.

 After the hives are worked through, a queen cage is introduced to the hive and the hive is then moved to out to a summer yard location that evening. Sugar/HBH spray is used to help mask the colony sent

 4-5 days later the queen will be manual released

Small hives

 Small hives are worked through after the large and

 medium yards have been worked through

All queens get pinched and the hives are all broken down

 into two brood frame nucs

After the hives are worked through, a queen cage is introduced and the hive is moved to another yard that evening. Sugar/HBH spray is used to help mask the

 colony sent

2-3 days later the queen will be manual released visual inspection for brood diseases throughout the entire split round visual inspection for available food within the hive

 Supplemental Feeding

 visual inspection for stored food within the hive regular brood nest nurishment monitoring

Patties added to hives after the split open feeding will resume as the incoming nectar decreases

Disease control

 visual inspection for brood diseases

Apivar strips will be taken out as its treatment runs its course two treatments of Oxytet once after the split and again in 10 days

 this will be the last Oxytet treatment of the spring

5 th Round –June-middle of June

The fifth round basically is a queen check and a feed check done after the split round. The spring time flows will be nearing the end and supplemental feeding of syrup will resume. Patties are added again on the nests if needed. Seconds are added as required to allow the colony to grow into the second box.

Colony assessment

Queen check on all the hives 7-10 days after release

Any hives not laying

 will be white flagged

 the hive will be checked again in 10 days for a laying queen which would be available from emergency cells

 any hive not laying in 10 days will be shaken infront of a hive needing a boost

 all the hives will be checked for good laying patterns.

 Any queen not performing at its expected level will be pinched and requeened and flagged for further inspection or shaken out depending on the hives conditons.

 Supplemental Feeding

 visual inspection for stored food within the hive

 regular brood nest nurishment monitoring

 Patties added to hives needing more supplement and as needed until the

 anticipated clover pollen flow open feeding will resume as the incoming nectar decreases and as

 needed until the anticipated clover nectar flow

Disease control

 All disease treatments will end at this time

6 th Round

Before the anticipated summer nectar flow the queens in the hives are shaken down and excluded into the bottom box where she will remain for the rest of the year. As each hive is taken apart a quick queen laying check is done. Any hives with queen issues will be flagged and nuked. After the queen has been shaken down a super will be added. Upon the next round of supers a quick queen inspection will be done to ensure she is not still in the second and supering will proceed.

This end spring time management