Summer in Full swing
This has been one of the driest summers on record, here in Ontario we have only had one day of rain for the last six weeks. Farmers are fearing for their crops, as things are really behind in terms of growth rate. Honey bees seem to be managing well despite the lack of rain. I am in the hives each week, checking brood patterns to ensure the queen is laying. They seem to be building up well. In terms of honey production, I have put suppers on each hive at the end of May, and the bees have started filling the first suppers to their capacity. Some hives have two suppers on, which is a good sign. The trick with beekeeping is to know when to add those second suppers. I have learned that when the bees start depositing white wax on top of the supper frames, it is time to add a second supper. Another trick I have learned is to take a frame that is full of honey out of the first supper and put it in the middle of the supper you are going to add, the bees will move up to it and start working the second box. You want them to always be working. If you don't give them the room to store the honey, they will put it in the brood chamber and fill cells with honey, which prevents the queen from using those cells for laying eggs. If this happens, and she doesn't have room to lay, the bees will start to build either swarm cells or supercedure cells, which you don't want happening. So it is best to be checking the space in the brood nest and adding suppers in a timely manner. I have learned that it is important to keep an eye for overcrowding and excessive comb building in the brood area. This is an indicator things are getting to a point in which they will start building swarm cells as well. Monitor your hives, add suppers when you see that the first supper is half to three quarters full. The bees will thank you by storing more honey in that second or third supper you give them.