Goals of Spring Management

The goals of spring management of honeybee colonies in a commercial honey producing operation are clearly defined. They are principally:

To maximize total honey production while controlling expenses and risk so as to achieve maximum profit (vs. attempting to maximize yield per hive)

To maintain or increase numbers of colonies without sacrificing total honey production

To ensure good wintering success after a successful honey season.

To operate in a fashion that allows ample time for each operation and permits taking time for rest and relaxation.

The following priorities must be considered in achieving these major goals:

Bee colonies must reach maximum strength in time for the anticipated main honey flow

The following resources must be used effectively:

management
labour
time
vehicles and fuel
honey or syrup and pollen & supplements
bees and queens
hives and equipment

Risk of loss must be minimized. Missing a honey flow can occur because of the following factors:

small bee populations
chilling of splits
inadequate supering
poor locations
swarming
disease or parasites
accidents
inability to manage the work schedule.

Equipment must be maintained in in good condition

Personnel must be knowledgeable and capable and willing to communicate


Spring Activities

are interrelated, and include

  • unwrapping
  • site evaluation
  • splitting
  • disease detection and control
  • routine or special medication
  • mite treatments and surveys
  • scraping (and replacing if required) of floors and hive equipment
  • moving yards, feeding
  • medicating
  • removing excess feed
  • eliminating poor colonies
  • requeening
  • and adding or reducing space as required.

A number of these activities often take place on a single visit to the yard. Sometimes a specialised team with unique equipment might handle one task, while a separate team handles another task in the same yard, or somewhere else in the outfit.

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