Copyright © All rights reserved. Designed & published by Roger Chappel.  January 2011

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.