Hoping for honey
The spring nectar flow is slowing down. I was told recently that the Tulip Poplar trees are just starting to bloom. This seems late, but I hope it is true. I don’t have any near me, so I haven’t see any blossoms firsthand but this would mean that there is a second big flow about to start. My clover is still doing great. I have been cutting my lawn in small sections in order to keep some clover available. I haven’t seen very many bees on it, though, so I am guessing that they are still finding sources of nectar elsewhere.
My package hive is going gangbusters. It has three mediums for brood and two honey supers and when I pull off the outer cover, all I see is bees through the screened inner cover. I can barely see any wood. I was a little worried about swarming, but I looked yesterday and found that none of the frames are capped and there is one or two that still need wax drawn. So I am hoping that the bees don’t sense that they are out of space. I generally don’t tear down to the bottom box when inspecting. I just try to look into the top of the brood box to see if all is well. I fear that the bottom brood box might be largely empty. I don’t have a queen excluder on this hive, so it is possible that the brood has moved up into boxes two and three and possibly four. If that has happened, then I might not end up with two supers of honey.
Common wisdom is that the nectar flow is about finished at this time of year, but I am hoping that the summer is as delayed as the spring was. If the nectar is finished, then I will end up with the same situation as last year – that is, thirty or forty pounds of uncapped or partially capped frames. I need to figure out how to concentrate the bees efforts to finish capping the honey. The dilemma seems to be that if I don’t put extra supers on soon enough, the bees will swarm, but if I put the boxes on too soon, the bees don’t cap those frames and just start filling the new frames. I end up with the same amount of weight, but instead of 10 frames of capped honey, I end up with 20 frames of partially capped honey/nectar.