After the nectar flows from the Oil Seed Rape,Horse Chestnut and Hawthorne the Apiary will quieten down as we move into what is normally called the June gap as the spring flowers finish and we move towards summer into summer.
If we look around at this time of month there is a lot of green shoots but very few flowers and those that there are do not produce any noticeable nectar flow and little pollen.
At this time with the colony often confined to the hive and with plenty of stores from the earlier nectar flow they turn their minds to reproduction and getting ready to swarm,that is if they have not done so already.
It is essential you continue to check what is happening in the brood chamber and if you find queen cups with grubs and jelly in you need to take some action or you will lose your summer workforce and the main honey crop.
This is when marking your Queens makes makes swarm prevention a lot easier as once you find and isolate her from the brood/grubs you can decide what of the many swarm control methods available you intend to use.
One thing for certain you will need some spare equipment as you try to take advantage of their determination to swarm and bred yourself some 2016 Queens.
It is essential at this time the colony has plenty of room by ensuring they have plenty of supers on as we try to keep the Queen laying ready for the main flow next month.
It is also a good time to get rid of some of those dreadful old brood frames you have moved to the exterior of the brood box at numbers 1 and 11 if you are using Nationals or 1 and 10 if using WBCs.
If you are really brave you could, choose your strongest colony ,put on a second brood chamber full of lovely new foundation above the old brood chamber,take off the empty supers(having extracted the rape honey) and feed some sugar syrup.
This will encourage them to draw out the foundation beautifully, during the June gap,whilst they have little else to do, encourage the Queen to lay in the upper brood chamber and give you lots of young bees ready for the July nectar flows.
But a word of warning only enough syrup to get them to build the combs or when you put the supers back on after feeding the syrup they can move this up into the supers.
As we appear to be having a wet cold June those 2016 Queens you bred may not have been able to get out to mate but be patient is is amazing what they can get up to with a little sun on their backs and be assured the drones will be waiting in droves,they have little else to do of course.
Beware with little food around some colonies will search out and rob the weaker ones (Nucs with young queens in included) given half a chance, to prevent this keep the entrances small and no spilling of syrup if you are feeding any of your stocks.