During the course of the last two weeks I have opened all of my hives. I went into winter with fourteen, and have come out the other end with eleven. The colonies that didn’t make it appear to have starved. All hives were changed to a three deep configuration. I am doing some experimentation this year. Some standard boxes have been loaded with follower boards and only 8 frames. Some hives were given top entrances. I have read good things of both, but I must find out for myself. Langstroth in The Hive and the Honey Bee speaks of duplicating other’s experiments. I think it’s a good idea.
This winter was mild, most of my colonies made it, so I should have nothing to complain about. However due to the fact that I had fewer than expected dead-outs, I am very low on black brood comb. I use it to load swarm traps. Only ten frames from all three dead-outs were good candidates. Several were rejected because the bees had not drawn the frames out well. Two of the candidates were loaded heavily with old pollen. I have read recently that pollen in combs is not a “good” forever. Also I have read that old pollen may be a potential draw for small hive beetles. Therefore I don’t want to take chances using them.
Swarm Trap Plans are nearing completion. It has taken me too long. I am still a novice at this. Please bear with me.