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April Beekeeping Tips!!

It's Springtime!!! As we enter full swing into the busy season, your hive should continue to grow rapidly. Feed sugar syrup as needed and work to maintain at least a 10-15lb surplus of stored honey or syrup. There should be no need to feed any form of pollen substitute as there are abundant supplies available out in the fields! April is the start of the nectar flow! Time to make some of that delicious liquid gold! If you have an questions join our Mentor Group! This is a place where you can connect with other beekeepers, and have all your questions answered by a professional! Click Here to join!

1. DO NOT feed hives with honey supers of drawn comb on, as they will produce sugar syrup honey. And you do not want to adulterate your own perfectly organic honey!

2. If you were late on your mite treatment, read the instructions before treating for mites; you do not want to contaminate your honey. Some treatments can be used with honey supers on.

3. Add a honey super when the one below it is 70-80% full. Hives will slow their nectar intake if they sense that they are running out of room.

Nucs can be made up in April. This is also a great month to split full hives.

4. Watch out for swarms!! The picture above was one of the largest swarms I have ever seen. It filled 2 deeps completely full of bees! When a hive is 70-80% full add another box to help prevent swarming. You can also remove some of the bees and brood and give it to a weaker hive. The most effective way to prevent swarming is to split the hive. Often, if I find swarm cells, I will place them in a Nuc box along with another frame of brood and some honey. This is effectively a small split. If the queen mates out successfully you should have a nice sized hive by winter!

5. April is one of the best months to split. The available nectar and warmer weather HELP increase the success rate. Remember to give each split at least 3 frames of brood, a new queen, and adequate food stores (usually 2-3 frames of honey) Remember to feed well after the queen has started laying.

These hives need to be split soon or they will swarm.

6. Do not add a box of foundation on over a queen excluder unless there is already a super with drawn comb on top. Bees do not like to draw comb through a queen excluder.

7. It is generally not advised to treat for mites, or any other issues, as the spring honey flow begins late April or early May in most regions. An exception to this would be in far South Texas, where the honey flow can begin in early April. However, in North, South East, Central, and East Texas, the major honey flow usually begins the first week of May, give or take a week depending on weather. Another exception is if your hives are in dire need of attention.

Happy Beekeeping!

- Hayden Chrisman

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