The honeybees are busy busy.  There are so many crops blooming now that both the beekeeper and the bees are very busy.

Heavily populated hives may need more honey supers.

Many beekeepers in the valley are experiencing swarming problems.  For some, the spring came on so fast, they couldn’t keep up.  For others, the genetics of their bees presented them with challenges.  If you have a hive(s) that have swarmed more than once, requeen and change the genetics.

As you are performing hive inspections every 10 days, be looking for eggs.  When you see eggs, you know the queen is present.  If most of the brood is in the upper box and there are some empty frames in the bottom box, switch the placement of the boxes (top box now on the bottom, bottom box now on the top).  This will give the queen some egg laying space in the upper box.  A few queens will use both brood boxes while most will work up and don’t seem to get back down into the bottom box.  Be on the lookout for swarm cells.  They are generally on the bottom of the frames in any of the boxes.

If you can’t switch boxes for some reason, consider reorganizing the frames in the brood area to provide more egg laying room in the center of the box(es).

This is a good time of the year to increase the size of your apiary by making splits or nucs.  Another swarm prevention approach is to equalize the hives by taking from the strong and giving to the weak.

Keep some equipment ready to hive a swarm.  You never know when you might get a call from someone.

For those hives that have swarmed, check to see if the virgin queen got mated by looking for eggs and larva.  If they weren’t successful in producing a good queen, you could place a nuc in the hive or put the swarm back into the hive using the shook swarm technique.  You could also order a queen.  Just do that before you end up with laying workers.


Blueberry, Black Locust, Chives, Dandelion, Crimson Clover, Cultivated Blackberries, Cultivated Mustard, Cultivated Radish, Empress Tree, Lavender, Meadowfoam, Photina, Poison Oak, Scotch Broom, Single Rose, Wild Radish, Wild Blackberries, and Various Garden Plants.

Copyright 2015 – Richard Farrier – All rights reserved