Nowhere is seasonal work more important than in an apiary. One unfulfilled business or one day being late can “negate” the results of the work for the year.
It is difficult to highlight the importance of grooming at certain times of the year. An apiary is constant work, regardless of the season or day of the week.
Work in the apiary in February is subject to constant monitoring. The bee colonies are listened to on a weekly basis. The goal is to prevent early activation of insects. It is necessary to monitor the temperature, humidity level. In the second – third week of February, you should start feeding. Kandy is the best feed at this time. In the process of preparation, preparations for nosematosis are added.
The work in the apiary is increasing in the spring. The vital activity of bees increases. Queens of some breeds begin worming, bees – brood rearing. The ideal time for this process is the last weeks of March.
Creating a quiet wintering environment is vital for insects. The smaller the winter brood, the more strength the honey plants have to actively reproduce in the spring. If, when completing the hives in the fall, the issue of providing water was not thought out, then at this stage the problem must be solved.
In the process of feeding the larvae, the need for water increases. Bees in search of moisture are able to fly out in any weather conditions. At this time, you can attach closed containers with slightly sweetened water at the upper entrances. The flow of liquid is provided through the wick.
Sugar syrup, in order to avoid misery, should not be given. The houses are examined for signs of diarrhea. They can be found on the taphole or front wall. These families are starting to prepare for early hatching.
At this time, it is necessary to carry out work to clean up the territory. The location should be ready for those families who are scheduled for a very early flight. Wherever possible, the land is cleared of snow, ice and debris. The area must be calculated in advance. There should be a distance of 4 m between the hives. It all depends on the specific conditions. The minimum allowable gap is 2 m.
The next stage of work is to ensure the safety of bees. Insects should not sit on unheated, frozen ground. For this, straw is spread. Sheets of plywood can be stacked in front of the hive to provide a safe resting place. The puddles are covered with boards. In the apiary, it is necessary from the first days to accustom the honey plants to drinking bowls, since the open water surface in windy weather will kill many insects.
You can’t just put the hives on the ground. There are ready-made stands for this. You can use materials at hand.
Exhibition of hives from the winter house
Bees in the apiary most often overwinter either on the street or in the underground Omshanik. It depends on the region, climate, bee breed.
If an underground room is equipped for bees in the apiary, then there is no need to rush to take them out into the street. The wintering house perfectly keeps the temperature and the required level of humidity. When the Omshanik begins to warm up, then ice or snow is used to maintain it within the required limits (-2 – +4). The doors only open at night, as sunlight can cause unnecessary anxiety in the bees.
Removal of hives in an apiary is carried out only at positive temperatures. It is necessary to observe the behavior of insects. If the bees are calm, there is no need to rush. If honey plants often leave the house, a constant noise is heard inside, fecal masses have appeared on the notch – the hive should be taken out immediately.
In case of unfavorable weather conditions, it is necessary to limit the space for the first flight with the walls of a greenhouse or a polyethylene tent. The recommended exhibition time is the last week of April or early May. March removal is justified in case of early spring. Most bee breeds are not afraid of frost. And proper care of insects and the performance of work on the insulation of the hives will protect them from possible cold weather. Cone-shaped “tents” made of roofing material perfectly save from strong winds.
In the case of outdoor wintering, the houses are cleared of snow, the damp insulation is replaced with a dry one.
First flyby of bees on the street
Bees can make their first flight already at temperatures above +6. Families who have spent the winter outdoors are calm. The first, as a rule, appear “scouts”. They fly around the hives, remember the territory of the apiary. Gradually, after a while, all the inhabitants come out.
The behavior of insects that hibernated in an apiary in Omshanik is very different. Houses with closed entrances are installed on stands. The bees have been disturbed and are acting restlessly. If you immediately open the exits, the honey plants will fly around noisily, with the whole family. This leads to several serious problems:
- insects do not have time to remember the territory;
- confuse hives;
- small families appear due to fleeing individuals.
To reduce the risk of weakening the nests, it is recommended to expose the hives in the evening without opening the hives. During the night, the excitement will subside, and the bees will go out calmly.
Do not open all the hives at once. First, discover the most troublesome ones. It is advisable to open entrances in two hives of the same row. After half an hour, you can release the next pair. So the flight will take place more calmly and there will be time for the necessary inspection of the nest.
During the first flight, which lasts no more than half an hour, insects free the intestines, I remember the territory. It is recommended to keep the lower entrances closed. The exit is carried out from the upper “warm” zone.
If the wintering in the apiary was calm, then after the departure the bees begin to put things in order. They take out litter, dead individuals, prepare a place for brood. By this time, plants have already appeared and insects begin to actively collect honey.
With a safe wintering, some strong families are in no hurry to leave. They can be stimulated. To do this, it is enough to remove the top cover and lift the insulation. Insects “wake up” from the heat of the sun’s rays.
When the exhibition is held early, the insects need to be fed until the beginning of honey harvest.
The reason for the reluctance to fly over may be serious. Lack of food means that the bees are greatly weakened. It is urgent to place a warm frame with honey or sugar syrup in the center of the nest. It is good to insulate the house or bring it into the room.
A quick inspection of the bees
Observing the honey plants in the apiary, it is necessary to quickly and accurately inspect and determine:
- the state of the family;
- the presence of a uterus;
- to carry out cleaning.
In order not to keep the hive open for a long time and not to disturb the bees, the work is carried out as quickly as possible.
- First of all, you need to remove the pore. This is especially important in nests with numerous submarines. And for the surviving individuals, lethargy, low activity is characteristic.
- Check the honeycomb. If there are damaged, moldy ones, it is better to replace them immediately.
- We determine the strength of the family and, if necessary, remove up to half of the frames. This will allow you to calmly heat the brood.
- We are looking for queenless families.
- Strong nests are inspected last.
- Observation will help identify sick individuals for the presence of nosematosis and acarapidosis lesions.
- The low quality of the queen bee is revealed by the presence of drone brood and its scattering.
- In this period, help to insects from mites can also become timely. Prevention work won’t take long, but it is necessary. Usually ready-made preparations are used. Beekeepers in the apiary also manage with improvised folk remedies. You can fumigate the hives with a smoke, burning medicinal plants (tansy, wormwood, chamomile, etc.). Thyme works great. It is placed in bags above the hives. Treating the bees and the hive inside with pine needle flour or essential oils gives excellent results.
- Be sure to inspect the hives for feed availability and quality.
A cursory examination is recommended to keep records as the information is valuable. Further work in the apiary will depend on its accuracy.
Expansion and narrowing of the sockets
To make it easier for a weak family to maintain the desired temperature, the gaps between the frames are narrowed to 9 mm. They put just as many frames as a particular bee colony. The excess and damaged ones are removed. After the brood grows, the number of workers increases. New frameworks are being set to avoid overpopulation. They are added every five days. If the beekeeper misses the moment of increasing the family, then its growth is inhibited.
The expansion method stimulates an increase in the number of individuals. The female begins an active clutch, the bees grow the brood. There is one more positive point – the uterus does not excrete drones for a long time. This, in turn, allows the beekeeper to start working on the formation of layers earlier.
Insulation of nests
The hives hibernating on the street do not fully open. Replace damp insulation with dry insulation. The houses exhibited from Omshanik are wrapped in cellophane. A burlap filled with straw or wood chips is placed on top. Sawdust is poured under the bottom, if there is free space.
To reduce heat loss, the upper entrances are narrowed. Equipped with wind protection. Until the onset of heat, the lower outlet is not opened.
The work on warming the nests in the apiary is carried out so that it is easier for insects to maintain the desired temperature in the brood zone. She keeps within 330-35%0… A decrease of 1 degree slows down development. At 280 – the brood dies.
Cleaning the hives after wintering is carried out in the apiary in April. Moldy frames and ceiling boards are removed. Wet covering material and inner laps are disinfected or replaced with fresh ones. In order for the cleaning to take place as quickly and efficiently as possible, all the necessary tools are prepared in advance.
The removed frames are placed in a special box. Podmore is swept into the bucket. A chisel is needed to clean the surface from wax, mold, excrement. Residual dirt is removed with a damp cloth.
Cleaning the bottoms
One of the main points of cleaning in an apiary is cleaning the bottoms. Begin to remove them as early as possible. Podmore smells bad, moldy. Insects can be infected with any kind of infection. Contact of honey plants with dead individuals should be avoided.
If the bottoms are not removable, then the work is postponed until warm days. Replacing the removable bottom of the house takes a few minutes and is successfully carried out even in cold weather.
Resettlement and disinfection
The nest is transferred to another hive if a mouse has settled there during the winter. The inside of the house must be treated with disinfectants. For this, the hive is removed from the apiary into the back rooms. It is fixed so that the structure is as stable as possible.
The procedure for cleaning and processing:
- All surfaces inside and outside are treated with a soda solution.
- Floor, walls are scraped off with a chisel. Garbage is removed.
- The house is wet-cleaned again.
- Undryed surfaces are burned with a blowtorch.
Fire carefully penetrates the walls and bottom, if it is not removable, corners and entrances. The surfaces are burned until the wood begins to darken.
Frames with drywall, ceiling boards and transverse slats are cleaned from wax and propolis. After the surfaces have been scraped off, they should be wiped with a damp cloth. Drying is carried out outdoors in partial shade.
Wax is removed from the canvas and mattresses. The old filler is thrown away. The fabric is washed. Use only laundry soap without perfumery fragrances. Hang them in the sun for several days.
A few leaves of fragrant plants are placed in the cleaned house. If, for any reason, the work of cleaning dirty hives is postponed, you should tightly cover the lid and the entrances.
Fixing Weak Nests
In medium and weak bee colonies, the quality of the queen is determined during examination. Open brood is absent in those nests where the female died. This is indicated by the low honey yield.
The quality and health of the uterus is assessed by its appearance. There should be no ticks on it. If parasites are found, the nest is urgently treated.
A healthy and strong uterus is light in color, and the exhausted and old female is dark in color. You should pay attention to the wings. If they look frayed, then the “queen” should be changed.
Helping weakened families
Under unfavorable wintering conditions in the apiary, bee colonies weaken. Saving them is possible in several ways:
- Only the number of frames that this bee colony can cover is left in the hive. They are installed in the southern part, and a board is placed in the northern side. The walls, bottom and ceiling of the nest are insulated with pillows. The house is closed from all sides with cellophane. Roofing material is sometimes used. Heating the hives helps to strengthen the weak colony, increasing the brood by several times.
- Weakened families are placed in one hive and separated by a solid partition. This keeps warmth better, insects warm up more easily. When the number of individuals begins to increase, and they fill the entire hive, then they are seated.
- Weak bees are settled on top of a strong nest. The separation is carried out using a mesh or a pad. The warmth that rises from below supports them, gives her a chance to grow stronger and survive. Over time, it is enhanced by alien brood.
- After identifying weakened families, they are swapped with strong ones. Particular attention should be paid to the offspring. If the placement is incorrect, there may not be enough flight bees and the brood that is not hatched may freeze.
- Weak colonies with a uterus are placed above the strong ones. A dividing grid is placed between them. The upper notch is closed. It turns out one bee colony with two females. Gradually, insects rise from the bottom. The uterus begins to actively lay eggs. By the end of the fourth week, the hive is full of workers and the combs are full of brood.
When re-examining the nests, the bee colonies with a small brood are corrected. Procedure:
- If there are few individuals in the nest and a weak uterus, then a young brood from another swarm is placed in the house. To do this, during the absence of “working” insects from three or four frames are swept into a box. The uterus is left in the nest. The box with bees is placed at a short distance from the old colony. Adults fly home. Young people are closed.
- Before replanting everyone is sprayed with sugar syrup mixed with lemon balm decoction. This is done so that all inhabitants have one smell. Then the insects of the main bee colony will accept the young.
- A few days later, frames with brood are set in the hive. There are enough “nannies” to feed the younger generation.
Small amount of brood
Small colonies that overwintered in the apiary as layering need to be increased. For reinforcement, add a frame with a foreign brood. Adults are not planted. Insulation work is mandatory. The procedure is periodically repeated.
Work to restore a bee colony with a dead female is carried out in two ways:
- A good family with a young female is added to the swarm, which is left without a queen. If the unification is carried out in this way, then the process will be much calmer. All inhabitants are sprayed with lemon balm broth syrup. Fistula queen cells are removed in advance. After removal, it is necessary to wait at least 4 hours, then the families are united. The first inspection is recommended after sealing the new brood. The work is repeated in about a week and a half.
- Female replanting. It starts at night. They release it either on the honeycomb, or through the notch. Preliminary work on processing with mint syrup is carried out for all inhabitants. The house is fumigated with smoke twice and the “queen” enters.
In the last week of April, there is no urgent and urgent work and the beekeepers can rest a little. At this time, empty houses are being cleaned at the apiary, new frames are being prepared. In the nests at this stage, the process of increasing the number is carried out.
From mid-April to the third week of May, young individuals completely replace overwintered honey plants. And the brood exceeds the number of workers. The insects only retained their volume, making a complete replacement of the old composition. To facilitate this period, you need top dressing. Spare low-copper combs are placed in the nests. Sugar syrup prepared at the rate of 1: 1 is also suitable. One liter is given per family every two days.
Drinking bowls in the apiary will significantly save energy and time for honey plants. One for 4 hives is enough. The water must be fresh.
The holes can already be opened completely. Winter insulation is removed. The cushions on the top boards in northern latitudes remain until the first week of June.
Brood control work continues. The substitution of new frames must be done on time. For the rapid growth of offspring, honeycombs filled with honey and bee bread will be useful. If the spring is delayed, then vitamin nutrition is necessary.
When the number of individuals in the bee colony increases markedly, the insects also fill the gap between the dividing board and the frame. If space permits, then the finished honeycomb is installed next to the wall. You can put the foundation. Then strong honey plants will begin work on the construction of honeycombs.
Families must always be provided with masonry frames on time. Otherwise, they will start swarming. The wax will “force” the honey plants to work on the construction of new honeycombs. Dryness is established at the end of May only in strong bee colonies. The weak still need to increase their numbers.
The beekeeper must control the presence of honeycombs and honey. In good weather conditions, full frames are replaced with foundation. With a rich bribe, the workers begin to produce wax. If frames are missing, honey plants build honeycombs on the ceiling board and walls.
Processing of bee colonies
Work on the treatment of bee colonies from parasites and diseases in the apiary begins immediately after wintering. This will prevent the ticks from reaching the sealed larvae. The use of both herbal and chemical preparations is effective.
Drinking and feeding
Installing drinkers and adding feed in spring is a mandatory step in caring for insects in an apiary. From the first days, honey plants are accustomed to drinking bowls, smearing them with honey. They put clean water and salted water next to it. 5 g of salt is added per liter of liquid. This will protect workers from death on a large water surface in strong winds.
Salt water is needed to replenish minerals in the body. If they do not find her nearby in an apiary, they will look for sewage on farms. Cobalt deficiency in the soil is easily eliminated if 20 mg of the substance is dissolved in one liter of liquid.
Until stable high ambient temperatures are established, it is impossible to feed the honey plants with liquid feed. It stimulates insects to fly out and can lead to mass death during recurrent cold weather. The food must be solid. Sugar syrup in the apiary begins to be displayed only when the warm weather is stable.
In April – May, it is recommended to re-examine the hives in the apiary, when the temperature is stable at least +160… The still unprocessed houses are being moved aside. Cleaned ones are installed in their places. The frames are transferred to a new home.
Empty dwellings are washed, cleaned, disinfected and left to dry in the shade. The walls outside are plastered and painted. The frames are thoroughly washed from traces of diarrhea, since pathogens may remain in them.
All work in the apiary in the spring should be clearly planned, since it will have to be done quickly. Most importantly, there are three important things to keep under control: the presence of a healthy queen in each hive, a sufficient amount of brood and nutrition. In spring, honey plants cannot take care of themselves and their offspring. This is the job of the beekeeper.