Spring will be here before we know it, so to avoid the last minute crunch here’s what we do in January to make our lives easier in spring.
Repair and inventory honey supers. Now is a great time to take stock of your honey supers and other woodenware. By now we have a pretty good idea of how many hives we are going to have in the spring, so we can guess about how many supers we are going to need for them come March. We believe that supering is like voting, it should be done early and often!
We count how many supers we have, making sure that we have two for each hive coming through the winter. Early supering with drawn comb is a great method to help aid in swarm prevention. If we don’t have drawn comb for every box, we split up the drawn comb boxes evenly among the hives that we have. Without drawn comb, there’s no point in putting them on early as fresh wax won’t be drawn until the honey flow is underway in earnest. We make sure that the boxes are still nice and square, nail in any corners that may be pulling out, and add a fresh coat of paint if needed.
We take this time to start thinking about making increase. Our plan this year is to end the season with 50 colonies. Some of these will be in nucs that we will overwinter, and some will be production colonies. We plan on rearing our own queens this year as well. Now is the time for us to start putting together the equipment list for the woodenware that we will need so we have everything ready when spring happens. We know most people don’t have expansion goals quite as ambitious as ours, but now is the time to be thinking about these things.
We are making plans about where our bees will be coming from. For us, we will be splitting overwintered nucs, and rearing our own queens, so we don’t need to order bees, but if you do, contact us for information about ordering bees, because now is the time for that!
We will need to make sure that we have enough nuc boxes and hive equipment for our queen-rearing, splits and production hives. Getting all of that together at the last minute would be a nightmare.
Finally, January is the time we catch up on our bee reading, finish rendering our bees wax, and make candles and cosmetics.
Here’s hoping that everyone has a successful 2016!
David and Ashley