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Feeding Bees for Spring

It's March in the area surrounding Fort Wayne, Indiana, and that means it's time to help the queen start laying eggs in all our hives. As a commercial beekeeper, we want the queen laying eggs in plenty of time to get as many bees available in each hive by the time we do splits in early April. (That's when we take some of the bees out of each hive to make new hives to replace what died in the winter). By May, the bees will be swarming (which means they naturally divide by creating a new queen and the old queen leaves with lots of bees), so it's an issue of timing to ensure we don't get the hives so full of bees that they swarm too soon. It takes about 3 weeks for eggs to immerge as new mature honey bees.

I put pollen substitute on the hives this time of year along with a block of sugar infused with honey. The pollen is a source of protein for the bees that they need to feed the larva. The bees need the pollen and the sugar to eat because many bees die from starvation this time of year. I've been asked if putting sugar and pollen patties in the hives affects the honey, and the answer is no. There's no honey in the hives right now that we harvest. We will add honey supers (boxes on top of the hives) to allow the bees to make excess honey through the summer that we will harvest and sell. There is no sugar or corn syrup in Bee Great honey! (A recent report from the American Honey Producers Association, of which Bee Great is a member, stated that a study of honey you find in supermarkets, etc., is over 1/3rd to be found to be adulterated with sugar, corn syrup, and similar sweeteners that are much less expensive to produce than honey. The bottom line is that we're just like any other farmers. If our livestock (honey bees in our case) is hungry, we feed them! It's what's best for the bees, and it does not affect the honey we sell.

 Dad and I also saw lots of signs of elimination flights. Ever wonder how bees use the restroom in the winter? Well, they don't go in the hive. They are clean insects. They take very short flights and go outside the hive. The small flecks in the snow in front of our hives last week was elimination flight remains. The dead bees are also normal. When bees naturally die in the hive, undertaker bees remove their bodies and discard them outside the hive.

honey bee elimination flight remains

We'll have new bees emerging in about two more weeks. Two weeks later, about the second week of April, we'll split our hives to make new hives of bees. We're adding queens from Mississippi this year. 

If you're interested in having Bee Great keep bees on your property, take a look at our beekeeping services. If you're already a beekeeper and you need nucs, we'll have a few ready in mid to late May. You can order those online too. If you just want to help the bees, and pay for our daughter braces (LOL), place your order today! We appreciate your support. 

Bee Great Today!


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