It appears at last we are moving away from the bitter cold of those East winds, meaning that the colonies can start to build up their numbers ready for the first spring flow of nectar. The warm temperatures in the middle of the month would have allowed many of us to briefly examine colonies and supplement their food supplies with a little syrup if necessary.
But the weather forecast for the rest of the month and into early May is for colder weather and a lot of those April showers. As Beekeepers there is not a lot we can do but watch the colonies build up, keep them weatherproof and feed if necessary. Yes put supers on if the hives need the room for their expanding workforce but most of mine are too weak to need that extra room at the present time.
So what should we be doing as we face the two most critical and busy months in any Beekeepers Calendar of May and June – Once again preparation is the name of the game and plan what you need to be doing.
I’ve just about finished cleaning up, renovating, scorching and sterilising my dead colonies with Acetic Acid ready to reuse the decent combs when breeding Queens and splitting colonies.
It is time to get the Nucleus hives out of storage prepared for those early swarms which can be only a few weeks away. My colonies are already breeding drones.
Make sure the old Bee suit is clean and Bee proof, clean and test the smoker and get that sealable plastic bucket with some Caustic Soda in it ready for cleaning the hive tool after each hive or session in the Apiary.
Build all the frames you will need for the season and store them ready for use and close to hand as when you need them it might be a little quicker than you expect. The Association still has plenty of Foundation for sale if any of the Membership still needs any before those swarms arrive.
In the recent warm weather we would have all seen the Queen Bumble Bees and Solitary Bees out and about starting to build up their own colonies.
It never fails to amaze me how many different types of Bee there are about, and those of us lucky enough to have gardens full of Pollen and Nectar rich plants will have seen more of them about than our own Honey Bees!</span>
As the public find out you intend to or keep Bees, you will become the local expert and expect to be asked to deal with Tree Bumble Bees in Bird boxes or Miner Bees in Lawns – a little reassurance can go a long way in helping with these issues. If in doubt please just ask one of the more senior members of the Association who I’m sure will be full of the right advice to give in the circumstances.
As the Oil Seed Rape is bursting into flower with many flowering trees such as the Horse chestnut right behind, the active season is upon us – all we now need is a little warm weather and the nectar will start to flow.