Title Photo: Crowded Front Door – time to take out the Mouse Guard
I’m not sure who is more confused by this weather the Bees or ourselves, as we go from beautiful warm spring days to torrential rain and then hard frosts on 25th April! The colonies unfortunately have started to storm ahead with the longer days and ‘warmer’ weather spurring the Queens to increase their laying capacity filling Brood chambers with brood.
Then they have nowhere to go few opportunities to collect any forage and it is really becoming cramped in the overwintered accommodation, just the mix we don’t need to spur them into starting the swarming cycle.
As most of us are dry warm weather Beekeepers, maybe you’ve not had a chance to inspect your colonies properly yet so my advice is to get a couple of supers on quickly, like now, come rain or shine and feed a little syrup if they are short on supplies.
Once we get a little warmth the situation will completely change as all the spring flowers, trees and plants, will flower at once and nectar flow starts.
WARNING – Then get your empty hives set up ready in the Apiary for splitting hives that give every indication they are going to swarm, breeding drones first and then building Queen Cells, or somewhere to put that ‘prime swarm’
I’ve already heard of one swarm in Ashorne village.
Those of you that have managed to get into the Brood chamber to check what is going on, it’s time to remove those ‘tatty old combs’ you put at positions 1 and 11 which hopefully the colonies have not started using yet.
I replace with deep drawn comb if I have any about or new Foundation but don’t split the brood nest it is still a bit too cold. You can do this early next month.
One of the tricks of the trade the more experienced Apiarists of old taught me, was to put a brood box of Foundation above the Queen Excluder on my strongest hive in the Apiary. They will draw this out beautifully straight, fill it with spring honey (weather permitting) which I can then extract leaving drawn combs to use elsewhere throughout the Apiary.
Those of you who were lucky enough to get to the BBKA Spring convention might have seen the ‘scurry’ around the equipment supplier Thorne’s lorry in the main car park where some of us were exchanging our old wax for Foundation.
They clearly had a good day leaving with an empty Lorry and a few tons of old wax.
As we finish our 2023 Introduction Course, we were lucky enough to find a sunny day to show the ‘students’ inside a hive for the first time. See if you can spot anyone you recognise as our experts Terry, Ruth and Chris lead the teams.
Other less experienced made the Tea and Coffee and served the beautiful cakes Ruth made and supplied.
A good time was had by all and that’s what Beekeeping should be about.
Next Month: Looking at swarm control (that’s a laugh at the best of times) as we try to keep ahead of the urge to duplicate and multiply .
Also that exercise called a Bailey Comb Change.
All depending on better weather of course …..