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Beekeeping Calendar of Management Practices : April

  • Strong colonies will consume large amounts of honey stores in April. If all reserves have been used, the colonies will starve just prior to the honey flow.
  • Check stores and feed all colonies that have less than 15 pounds.
  • Check brood chamber for diseases.
  • Replace three frames of drawn brood comb with three frames of new wired brood foundation each year. Rotate the drawn brood comb frames on a four-year cycle replacing each of the 10 frames of drawn comb with foundation once every four years.
  • Install package bees in April. Package bees will do well when installed on all new foundation in the hive. When drawn comb and two frames of brood are available, packages get off to a better start.
  • Add new foundation for drawing comb in upper hive body during a honey flow.
  • Slatted bottom boards and entrance reducers also reduce degree of light and aid in producing better drawn comb.
  • Feed installed package bees one gallon of a two to one sugar syrup containing one teaspoon of Fumidil-B.
  • Colonies with prolific queens and ample food will be strong in population and may need room. Add a super of drawn comb to relieve crowding.
  • By April, you should have developed colony strength to 80,000 worker bees to produce a maximum honey crop.
  • Add supers for honey storage by April 25.
  • Check for the development of the swarming instinct. Raise the super just above the brood chamber and check for swarm cells along the bottom bars of the frames. If cells are present, all frames containing brood should be checked thoroughly for swarm cells. Remove all uncapped queen cells. Give additional room by adding one or two supers of drawn comb.
  • Top ventilate the colony to prevent overheating the colony.
  • Recheck for swarm cells every seven days.
  • Colonies that continue to build swarm cells should be divided to prevent swarming.
  • Colonies that develop a strong swarming impulse will swarm after the removal of capped queen cells.
  • Prepare supers with foundation in a warm room and store under fumigation with paradichlorobenzene.
  • Place supers with cut comb foundation in plastic bags to prevent drying out prior to use.
  • Remove entrance reducer from over wintered strong colonies by mid-April.
  • Remove entrance reducers from colonies installed in April by mid-June.

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