These are Topbar specific tips - see Dennis' monthly notes for general seasonal information.
If you have a new topbar hive, with a package installed Late March - Mid April...
*Keep feeding syrup, slowly but steadily through this whole first year. The summer dearth is upon us. Hopefully the smaller fall flow will resume in Aug with the sumac. **Member Mike S. reports each of his two new hives are taking about 12oz 1/1 syrup per day.
*Perform weekly inspections - do not open the hives when the temps are in the 90°s and in hot sun. Early morning and late evening is easier on the bees and the combs. Make adjustment to comb fins if necessary. Remove cross combing if there is any. (Keep inserting blank bars into the broodnest if they have plenty of young bees and are still drawing wax.)
*Note brood patterns and conditions, comparing the queens' progress if you have multiple hives. My two year old hives have begun reducing the broodnest with capped honey. This is different from backfilling with nectar prior to swarming.
*Package Queens are often supereceded. Be on the lookout for supercedure cells. Be ready to purchase a replacement queen should you damage a supercedure cell during inspection.
*Note the different sized cells in the combs your bees draw - (worker brood, drone brood, honeybands and honeycomb) also note the placement (positioning) in the hive. Understanding the different combs in the nest will aid you in prepping the colony for successful overwintering. ** If the queen has stopped laying in the drone cells, move those bars toward the back of the hive, condensing the worker brood combs.
*Have fun and enjoy your bees!
Second year Topbar Beekeeping is decidedly different from first year, which you will have already found out if you successfully overwintered your colony!
Now is the time to harvest surplus honey
Feel free to contact me at Cub Creek Bees on Facebook, or email me at
cubcreekbees (at sign) gmail.com
for 2nd year questions.
Glen McCray .