Mike evaluates the spring progress of these production hives in May 2018.
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all photos: Adam Foster Collins
Getting near time to break these overwintered colonies down into mating nucs.
Kate preparing to make up mating nucs.
What we like production colonies to look like in the spring.
Dandelion bloom in Vermont is a sight to behold.
Kork pauses for the photo op while preparing mating nucs.
Kate preparing to put some early supers on production colonies at the Comstock yard.
Supered for dandelion. Keeping that nectar flow out of the brood nest.
Kate inspects a frame of brood while transferring over-wintered nucleus colonies into ten frame langstroth hives for use, or five frame transport boxes for sale.
We like to have colonies reversed and supered by the time dandelions look like this.
Tucka is inspecting a spring production colony and counting brood frames to assess the strength of the colony. We like to see seven to nine frames of brood. Colonies with fewer than six get boosted with brood from strong colonies , and should be requeened as soon as new queens become available.
Throughout the season, notes are made on the hives, and the info is later recorded in Mike’s yard sheets. Boxes like these are showing their age and getting a little tough to decipher.
Rob is pretty cheerful about making up spring nucleus colonies.
Mike making up cardboard nuc boxes in a yard full of overwintered nucleus colonies, ready to be packed up for sale.
Decker yard is full of overwintered nucleus colonies. These act as what Mike refers to as ‘brood factories’. This means that they are expanded to 4 or 5 nuc boxes high in the early part of the year, and then slowly broken back down as the extra brood resources are used to make summer nucs in June and July. These nuclei are managed so they go into winter heavy with honey, and packed with young bees.