I wanted to share some of what I'm up to, as that might be helpful in thinking about what you might do to successfully manage your colonies this spring.
It's spring in Texas and colonies that went into winter with decent populations of bees and adequate food resources 'are going gangbusters', as my Dad would have said.
So much so, in fact, that when I got a call from good friends, worried about their colonies swarming soon, I was reasonably confident that they were probably overreacting to normal spring foraging. Wow was I wrong.
Their colonies were exploding - literally nine full combs of brood and bees in one, and seven in the other. And I don't mean 9 combs with brood, I mean 9 combs wall to wall and top to bottom. More to the point, on the 21st of February those hives were on the brink of raising swarm cells.
So a word to the wise, this has been a good spring for honey bees in Central Texas, and if your hives were provisioned well and resources are what they've been in the Austin area, then look out - you may need to take measures to prevent swarming.
I'll talk more about various things you might do to reduce the likelihood of swarming in my next message.