The hives are visited weekly and inspected to see how the hive is progressing, the health of the bees and to verify that the Queen is still present and is maintaining a good population of brood.
The bee keeper does not have to see the Queen to know if she is present. By looking at the cells in the brood chamber, you can see the density of brood, and cells in different stages of development – eggs, young and older larvae, pupae and capped brood cells. If eggs are present you know that the Queen was there in the past 2 days, if larvae are present you know she was there 3 to 8 days previously.
This is the time that swarming can occur and the weekly inspections will let you know when additional supers must be added to provide room for the increasing hive population since the Queen can lay up to 2,000 eggs per day with warm weather and a large honey flow. If this is not done, up to half the hive will leave looking for another location. The remaining hive is useless until they produce a new Queen or a new one is introduced.
By the end of July or early August, the Queen begins to lay fewer eggs, so that the chance of swarming is reduced.
In normal years, the first honey extraction is done in mid- to late July. However, this year in eastern Ontario because of the heavy rainy conditions, the honey production is down over 50 percent from the norm and it is just now that some bee keepers have started extracting.
The weekly inspections include a check on the amount of mite infestation ( Varroa and Tracheal mites) If the infestation is at a level high enough to warrant treatment, any honey supers must be removed, since no treatments can be administered while supers are on. This could contaminant the honey with chemical residues. If the levels are not serious enough, treatment can be delayed until later when the honey has been removed and prior to supering up to obtain honey from the late honey flow in August and early September.
Spring is peeking around the corner, with the warm weather and sunshine everyone is probably planning their gardens! When planning remember our friends the bees! Attracting bees will not only help our bee population but also make your garden flourish! Here is a collection of ideas and plants to help grow a bee garden even in the smallest place.
David Suzuki suggests the following plants:
He also suggests making a bee bath out of a shallow dish with rocks and water for the bees to drink.
The honeybee conservancy suggests the following tips:
- Replace some of your lawn with flowering plants
- Select single flower plans (daisy, marigold) and not heavily hybridized varieties as they produce more nectar
- Use only natural herbicides and pesticides
- no garden? even a small rooftop or window garden is helpful to the bees!
Many retailers offer wildflower or bee mixes to augment your garden, not only are they beautiful but they will attract bee friends
Resources and information from:
Globe and Mail http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/what-you-can-do-in-your-garden-and-yard-to-help-bees-and-butterflies/article30101793/
David Suzuki – What you can do http://www.davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/food-and-our-planet/create-a-bee-friendly-garden/
Bees matter – http://Beesmatter.ca
Bring Back the Bees (from Honey Nut Cheerios) https://bringbackthebees.ca/
The honeybee conservancy http://thehoneybeeconservancy.org/act-today/plant-a-bee-garden/
Seed retailers online:
West Coast Seeds – Plant flower seeds for bees https://www.westcoastseeds.com/garden-resources/articles-instructions/plant-flower-seeds-for-bees/
Verseys Seeds Bee feed mix Wildflowers http://www.veseys.com/ca/en/store/flowerseed/wildflowersap/beefeedmix