From 11 colonies to 26 in one week via OTS queen rearing

It has been a busy week here in the Cleveland, Ohio area! This past week, from 11 overwintered colonies we created and sold 9 nucs, notched larvae in each colony, and then created 26 total nucs/splits one week later.

Some keys (not comprehensive) to this being effective: 

  1. Notching one week before swarm season and not before
  2. Letting full-strength colonies then raise the cells for one week before creating splits (vital!) 
  3. Culling cells created in each split down to one or two max
  4. Giving each split enough resources

Mason Bees Are Your Friend!

Filmed from our backyard in Ohio, here's a brief video showing how we hang mason bee nesting blocks right on our back porch. Some quick facts and notes:

  • Mason bees don't sting ― an easy way to quickly identify is to note their rounded (not pointed) rear-end with no stinger
  • They emerge early each Spring and last just a few weeks, busily creating cocoons for next year's bees
  • You'll notice different sizes as they fly around their blocks and come in and out of their holes (hint: male and female)
  • You can use untreated blocks with drilled holes OR buy cardboard tubes that are inserted into larger holes which allows you to actually remove and clean the cocoons and prep them for the following spring
  • Drilled holes should be 5/16" although they'll use a bit smaller or larger holes or crevices
  • They are great early pollinators if you have fruit trees, etc
  • Easy, free, kid/people-friendly & fun!

How To Track Your Beekeeping Records With A Sharpie At The Hive

The past couple years, I've found Michael Palmer's advice about record keeping very handy. As you learn and grow more successful as a beekeeper, you may find yourself going well past three or four hives and you'll start forgetting important details such as:

  • Queenright?
  • Laying well?
  • How much did it weigh last?
  • Where did the queen come from?
  • What day did it swarm? 
  • When did I create this split?
  • Need to feed?
  • Mite test results?

You could carry a notepad around with you, but you'll see how complicated that can be very quickly. And, there'll come that day you leave it at home or the dog eats it. 

I trust this helps you as it has me. :)