FeaturedIn the ApiaryPractical Advice

The Apiary in April

Title Photo: First swarm of the season in Jephson Gardens, Leamington Spa

As expected the entire month of April has been cold and wet which has restricted the growth of many of our colonies.

On the occasional warm afternoon our bees have  got out and about collecting pollen by the ‘bucket load’ and working those nectar rich plants like dandelions to replenish their stores.

Be careful  some of your stronger colonies don’t run out of food and a weak solution of sugar syrup or Ambrosia  is now permitted to keep them ticking over.


This parasite has not gone away but most colonies seem to be managing it better than they used to seasons gone past.

But keep an eye out for a large mite drop on your floor sides and if in any doubt treat before putting on any supers.

Oil Seed Rape:

The huge “yellow fields” of this Brassica crop are now in full flower but in most cases it is too cold and wet for the workers to reach it and get a substantial crop but be aware a warm  spell in early May can change all of that. Supers at the ready.


As the colonies have been restricted for so long due to this cold spring, we can expect some early swarms to appear in the next couple of weeks so be prepared.

Get your spare hives out of the shed or garage , repair and waterproof, putting them onto stands In the Apiary ready to go.

Frames made, skep or other cardboard box, old sheet, secateurs all ready for collecting swarms and make sure Terry Hitchman has your contact details if you want a swarm

As prevention is better than a cure, get a regular schedule of a 7 day cycle for looking into your hives and be ready to split any building Queen Cells.

Don’t  start destroying Queen Cells hoping that will prevent a swarm. It will not.  Split the colony and move the old Queen to a new site with a couple of frames of brood and a couple of frames of food.

The original site of the colony  will develop the remaining Queen cells  and you can go back in a few days( 7 at the most)  select a good Queen cell and then destroy the rest or make up another Nuc.

Yes you will need loads of spare equipment.

Association Apiary:

In May we start our regular meetings at the Association Apiary. This is a good place to develop your craft and learn new skills.

Check your Newsletter.

Even the hibernating Ladybirds refuse to come out in the cold and wet

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