Late spring can be a rollercoaster of temperatures and weather patterns, as well as unexpected dearths. Keep an eye on your hives and be ready to add supers or supplemental feeding, as needed.
This spring is truly serving as a solid reminder that our average last frost date in our zone is around Mother’s Day. These late freezes and frosts are slowing down a lot of the activity in the hives and affecting the blooming times of some local trees and flowers.
Even so, the sunnier and warmer spots in the area are already seeing wild rose and bramble blooms popping open. Once the rain stops, we can expect the black locust, tulip poplar, and garden blooms to keep the bees busy filling supers through May. The honey flow will be upon us, so get your supers ready!
* Make sure your entrances are all enlarged.
* Make sure your supers are ready to store the surplus honey.
* Swarms can still happen in strong hives, so be prepared.
* Try not to disturb the hives unless necessary.
* If honey production is not your primary goal, it’s a good time to increase colonies.
* If your hives are extremely low on resources this is a good time to supplement with some light sugar feed.
* Tulip Poplar flow should last through early to mid-June.
* Beware the June dearth, a spot between the poplar and locust blooms ending and the basswood and sourwood flow beginning! Feed the hives if necessary, and consider long term plans like planting herbs, gardens, and beds of June-blooming flowers so the bees can continue to forage naturally.
* Watch for hive robbing during the dearth. Reduce entrances if needed.
* Make sure you have started doing your mite checks with a sugar roll or alcohol wash to assess the early health of the colony and mitigate mite infestations.
* Early June is often the first harvest time. As the honey flow comes to a close, prepare to extract fully capped frames from supers or cut comb.
* Prepare your supers for the sourwood flow, which usually begins mid-late June and continues through mid-July.