Questions with Mike Palmer

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Mike Palmer Answers Your Questions

Mike Palmer keeps bees at French Hill Apiaries in St. Albans. We are grateful that he has agreed to answer questions on beekeeping in Vermont, his workload permitting.

VBA Members: Ask Mike your question with this form. (Requires you to login to the site.) We'll post the best questions and answers here as regularly as possible. (Personal responses to questions will not be possible.) livemarks


Reversing Retrospective

Mike Lamere writes:

This question is a bit after the fact. I am wintering my bees in two deep supers. Should I have reversed the supers in late summer/early fall to insure that the cluster is located below the stored honey?

No, colonies should not be reversed in late summer or early fall. Doing so might re-locate the cluster to the bottom box, but would also place empty comb above the cluster. That would be empty comb above the honey, wouldn't it? That's not what you're trying to do. Not good for wintering.

Reversing the hive bodies is a spring management method designed to locate empty comb space above the cluster. This gives the bees overhead nectar storage space, and room for the queen t expand her broodnest upward. This, along with early and timely supering goes a long way in your swarm control. Reversing is done at or just before Dandelion bloom...depending on the strength of the colony.

By later in the season...late summer/early fall, the bees are setting up their winter broodnest...honey and pollen stores above, pollen and empty comb below. Leave them be as they are. Bees know best. If they are light on stores, then feed them in September until they have enough in the combs for winter.

- Mike