Opening up the winter hive
Natural beekeepers would strongly frown upon opening up the winter hive, even if the day's high was 66. But natural beekeepers would also frown upon feeding a healthy hive in late February just to boost colony size and prompt maximum honey production. Since I'm committed to doing the latter, I need to do the former as well --- more bees need more space or they'll soon swarm.
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I am sticking to the Warre method of nadiring
rather than using the Langstroth method of supering, though. In part,
this is because I'm trying to get the bees out of the Warre hardware, so
I'm hoping they'll build down and finally let me remove that last Warre
box (hopefully full of honey) this summer. But nadiring also makes
intuitive sense for spring expansion.
To that end, I dragged
Mark out to help me lift the existing hive up in preparation for
slipping new boxes underneath. But the hive (minus roof) was just barely
light enough that I could manage it on my own without straining my
back. I didn't take the boxes apart because I was trying to minimize my
intrusion as much as possible, but the moderate weight seemed pretty
good for this time of year, suggesting that there's at least a little
bit of honey left inside for the bees to consume as they wait for true
Now, if I can just remember to buy sugar in bulk, we might have our first good honey harvest since 2010....