Which brings me to this subject, preparing bees to make a honey crop.
All bullet points are from the gobeekeeping.com website.
- If the honey (nectar) flow is early -- such as black locust the beekeeper must have the hives built up strong as early as possible. This may require feeding hives to stimulate brood production and the feeding of a pollen substitute.
- All hives of bees must be at their strongest to produce a good crop. This is done by frequent inspection for good brood patterns and the replacement of queens if necessary. It also requires that the beekeeper is alert to bee diseases. Any disease weakens a hive.
- It pays to have fewer strong colonies than many weak colonies. Too often a beekeeper is in a hurry to increase hive numbers. If a honey crop is expected, then the beekeeper might begin combining weak hives with hives that are fair but not strong. One might also switch the location of a weak hive with a strong hive if the hive with the weak population has a good queen (one you have replaced just recently).
- If the beekeeper is wanting to increase the number of colonies he/she has, it would be better to take only one frame of bees and brood from a number of hives and build slowly rather than splitting all the hives at one time. If the honey flow comes later in the year, splitting makes sense.
- The beekeeper must have a plan to prevent swarming. The beekeeper must provide adequate space for brood production and honey storage. A swarm defeats all the effort put into getting a hive of bees ready for the honey crop.