Spring has sprung. Flowers are blooming and pollen is coming in by the basket load. Queens are laying, colonies are brooding up and drones are hatching. Swarming season is here and the nectar flow can’t be far behind. ARE YOU READY?
Spring is one of the busiest times of year for the beekeeper. If you haven’t completed your treatments for varroa there is still time before the nectar flow starts. Of course, different parts of the state have different nectar flow starts so knowing your area is important. This is where a mentor really comes in handy. A local beekeeper as a mentor, will know flowering sources, swarm season and when the nectar flow begins.
So, what do I need to be watching out for you may ask? A week of rainy weather can cause the rapidly building colony to run out of stores so checking the colony for stores is first on the list. Know the colony varroa count through sampling is next. There are several treatments available to help with this. Be sure and follow manufacturers recommendations on treatment amounts and exposure times. There are IPM methods to deal with the varroa mites such as breaking the brood cycle through queen manipulations, splitting colonies for increases and introducing new queens. Brood build-up, while advantageous for the nectar flow and honey production, can also lead to overcrowding and swarming. Adding addition brood boxes and/or honey supers can help curb the urge to swarm. Depending on where your colonies are located within the state and nectar sources, the addition of honey supers may also be in order. Some beekeepers place supers on the first day of spring, April 1st or when they see white wax being added to the outside of the frames in the top box. Again, having a mentor, if you are a beginner beekeeper, has its advantages.
Your Board of Directors are busy finalizing plans for this year’s First Annual 2018 Spring Field Day. This event will be by pre-registration only with a limit of 100 students. The event will be held at the Cade’s Farm south of Lafayette. There will be no registrations available at the door. Check out the LBA website for further information. 2018 Annual LBA Convention will be in the Lake Charles area this year the first weekend in December. The LBA, in conjunction with the USDA bee Lab in Baton Rouge, is still in the planning stages with dates to be announced at a later date. The LBA is your organization and the Board is here to serve you. If you have suggestions for us to make the organization better or ways to better serve our members, please feel free to contact us. Also, there are several bee clubs scattered throughout the state. Join your local club and get involved. Help us help our fellow beekeepers be the best stewards of this valuable resource and produce the best honey in the world. Randy Fair, email@example.com, 1-318-588-2899