Ordering Bees and Winter Ponderings

It's sometimes hard to plan for what the apiary might need in the spring time, especially if it's the middle of winter and I'm uncertain of how the hives we have may or may not survive through the winter.

This year the planning is a little more...easier. We've had several, more than half actually, of our hives die this fall from varroa mites.

The remaining hives we do have won't make enough splits to get us back up to the number of desired hives so it's time to place an order to buy bees.

Our club has purchased nucs in the last 4-5 years and we've never had the experience in installing packaged bees, so this year we're looking for packaged bees outside the club.

For a primer of the difference between a nuc and packaged bees, see this post.

Several of the large and even local bee suppliers are already sold out of pre-orders for bees for 2014.

We found a listing for a bee company named Honey Hive Farms. We did some research about the company and found positive reviews and discovered they're only a half hour trip north west of us!

Even better is they have free delivery of their bees along 4 major highway routes.

We purchased (4) 3lb packages of bees and (2) 4lb packages of bees. I figured for only an extra $10 an extra pound of bees would be interesting.

With our orders placed and confirmed, it's time for me to think about other preparations for the spring.

I've been wondering: how many frames should I rotate out of each hive. I've heard 2-4 frames a year is a good number and the hives I've got have gotten some frames that are ready to be taken out of rotation since they're so dark from brood cycles.

I've been wondering: if I replace only 2-4 frames with fresh foundation into a hive, do I place them together or spread them out spaced between already drawn frames? Will the bees draw them out or just extend the frames that are already drawn? I've seen them just draw out existing frames as opposed to draw new ones.

I've been wondering: Should I build more super boxes this year. I think "yes" whether I need them or not because a little wishful thinking never hurts!


Comments For This Post: (3) | Post Your Comments! Hide The Comment Form
Nick Holmes says...
Date:   January 2, 2014, 8:24 am

2-4 would be a normal comb change but you can do an artificial swarm or bailey comb change otherwise which us more.

Omi says...
Date:   January 2, 2014, 4:26 pm

Did you consider that your BIL is adding two hives to your total?

Chris (Show Me The Honey) says...
Date:   January 5, 2014, 3:49 pm

I'm really excited Thomas is going to start keeping bees. Although, 220 miles is along way to drive for me to visit his apiary!

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