I was thrilled to have a sunny day and a willing helper to continue my Spring colony inspections in our breeding yard.Today I could see pollen laden bees landing on every entrance board. This yard is the home of all of our over-wintered nucleus hives as well as mature survivor Russian stock from various sources. In addition, we keep some mature daughter colonies from the past few years’ Carniolan breeder queens.
Bees overwintering in multiple levels of supers had mostly clustered near the top, with brood being established in that upper box. I identified and caged the queen for safekeeping while I conducted my inspection. I scraped the bottom boards clean, and placed all of the brood in the bottom super, surrounded by pollen and honey. I made sure empty drawn comb was available for the queen to expand her brood nest. The queen was then released in the front entrance.
A number of our winter Nucs had wintered in single deep boxes Those with 4-6 frames of bees got an extra super of frames on top. A few of today’s inspections involved bees that wintered in 5 frame nucleus hives. All of these were expanded to 10 frame deeps. In addition I added my special recipe pollen patties to encourage brood production in all my colonies. As I worked I made notes about which colonies are candidates for splitting when the new Russian queens arrive next week.
Tomorrow, I have a family planning to visit our bee yard, so I will get a few more of the Winter Nucs inspected and expanded early in the day.