In The Beehive

Picture by Jessica Dally

For many beginners knowing what should be happening in your hive can be overwhelming. “Is this normal” is a common question we all ask when we first start out beekeeping.

To answer that question today we’ll talk about what is normal and what should be happening in your hive. Well, sort of.

You see the idea that bees or anything in nature follows a rigorous schedule is just silly. Nature and the weather change from year to year and that impacts the health and the activity in your hive. Add location on top of that and you’ve got a very different schedule from year to year and from one location on the planet to another.

In our little area in the Northwest we’ve had a lot of rain this year.  Often summer shows up for us on the 4th of July though some years it’s earlier or later, if it shows up at all.  That means our bees haven’t had as much time to forage or store honey and so what we’re seeing in the hive is very different from other, warmer years and certainly different from what folks in the southern states are experiencing this year with the heat waves.

So what should likely be happening for everyone?

  1. Your queen should have a good laying pattern.  This means you’re seeing eggs, larve or capped brood in most cells of your hive body supers.  There isn’t simply an egg here and a larve there.  If that’s the case it’s time to find a new queen.
  2. If your queen is laying well the numbers of bees in your hive should be high… a LOT higher than when you first started the hive.  If not, again, it may be time to get a new queen.
  3. On warm days the bees should be bringing in nectar and pollen.  It’s easy to see the pollen so that one is fairly obvious but you’ll see the nectar and pollen stored in the upper corners of your brood boxes.
  4. If you’ve not had warm days yet you may have issues with bees running out of food.  Similar to you if the bees can’t “go out” they can’t pick up their version of the groceries and will eventually run out of food.  While you may have taken the feeders off your hive previously due to warm weather this is a good time to check if you may need to put them back on.
  5. If the weather is getting warm your bees should be drinking water, and it should be your own!  You’re always going to want to make sure you have a water source in your bee yard and on warm days you should see bees hanging out there.  If not they’re finding water someplace else, and that could be your neighbor’s pool.  Make sure they can get water from your own yard.

So what are you seeing in your hives right now?  Let us know by commenting below!


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