I just finished looking at the National Weather Service page for Montgomery County MD, and I see the Winter That Wouldn’t Quit is still in business. I am reminded of the time I sat on an oral exam board for the EAS Master Beekeeper exam. We were asking a candidate from Main about early spring management, and he told us that in Maine beekeepers didn’t typically look into their hives until early May. Take heart – spring will come.
To put the winter in perspective, normally in Dothan we will be looking in our hives occasionally in January, at more regular intervals in February, and be expecting swarm calls in early March. This year I was able to do occasional hive inspections in February, and as of last weekend (Mar. 1) I did not see any signs that swarming was imminent (e.g.; no swarm cells). Bottom Line: the hives are about three weeks behind where they would be in a more typical year.
Nevertheless, I will be doing my swarm prevention measures in the coming weeks, which for me means reversing. Well, not exactly reversing. As my typical hive has 3 medium boxes as its brood chamber, I like to take off the empty bottom box, set it aside, restack the two remaining boxes on the bottom board, and add a box of empty fresh drawn comb on top to complete my three medium box hive stack. Voila – reversing and comb changeout done in one operation.
As to the box of old comb, the old comb gets scraped off the foundation (I use plastic foundation and frames), the foundation gets re-waxed, and the box gets drawn out as a super. Such is the circle of life for my comb.
In other local beekeeping news, our annual Beginning Beekeeping course is in progress with 20 students this year. The Florida Panhandle clubs are trying something new: instead of the traditional instructor-led courses put on by individual clubs, this year they are having a Webcast course that is being produced by the University of Florida. I’ve sat in on one session of that course so far, and I am impressed.
And that is really just about all the beekeeping news from the South at the moment. Take heart – the winter will not last forever.