Most people assume the year starts in April. WRONG! It started a month ago.
We aim to look at the various stages we need to go through in order to help our bees reach their maximum potential. Let’s start with August.
August to December
Winter bees need to be in good health – feed them to ensure their fat reserves are built up. Check varroa is under control. Treat if necessary.
Check hives are well ventilated, secure, are water-proof and insulated from the cold. Fit mouse-guards. Start preparing equipment for next year.
January to March
Check the hives have enough food. Provide candy or fondant if unsure.
Routinely check the hives for soundness and that there is good ventilation.
Leave the bees in peace – do not disturb the cluster.
Provide light syrup early April to stimulate colony build-up. Remove mouse-guards. Replace floors . Carry out first full inspection provided the temperature is above 16 degrees celsius. Remove old or damaged frames.
he First Inspection
Is there a laying Queen?.
Is the brood pattern even?
Are there enough stores?
Is there enough space for the queen to lay eggs and for food storage?
Is there sign of any disease?
Do you need to treat for varroa?
The Summer: May to August
Inspect each colony every 7 – 10 days. Mark any unmarked Queens and clip them if necessary. Ensure you monitor the behaviour of the queen and consider replacing queens older than 2 years old.
Prepare equipment for preventing swarms and monitor colonies carefully for signs. Ensure there is plenty of space – add Supers where necessary.
Harvest surplus honey but leave approximately 25 – 30 lbs of honey (per colony) for the bees to enable them to survive the winter.