Well it’s been a very strange year so far as, with the cold and damp, bees have struggled and at least in this area have only recently begun to put in stores. The oilseed rape is well on its way so it is possible that some supers could be ready to come off. If they are three-quarters capped it should be safe to extract them but don’t leave them too long or the honey will set in the comb which means it will have to be cut out thus ruining the comb and necessitating new foundation. We now look to field beans or borage to continue our crop.
The regular inspections for queen cells ought still to continue – miss one cell and you could well lose a swarm. Look particularly around the edges of brood frames as bees like to tuck cells away in seemingly inaccessible places. A lone cell in the middle of the face of a brood comb is a supercedure cell and should be left alone as the colony has determined to re-queen itself unless, of course, you’d prefer to do the job yourself.
The swarming season is upon us. Swarms can be a grave nuisance to all in their vicinity and every effort should be made to prevent them since it could mean the end of your honey crop as most of your adult workers will have gone and by the time the young queen has started to lay the season could well be over.
Do try to make increase if you can. If you don’t want the extra colonies there is someone on the list we have who would be grateful for some bees.
Finally, if you are in difficulty, please contact a member of the association as they will be only too pleased to help.