Editorial by Paul CooperMay is "busy bee" month for beekeepers. All of a sudden, after a late start to the spring, we're faced with queen cells & swarming and probably, like me, wondering why you didn't spend more of the winter months preparing for the sudden demand for new frames, supers and brood boxes. Don't you think that Stoneleigh could be about a month earlier in the calendar?
A shorter than usual (and later, sorry!) newsletter this month. The bees will keep you busy this month so you won't have time to read the newsletter anyway.
You should be inspecting weekly by now as our colonies are well into their swarming season. Thoroughly inspect all of the brood and if any of the comb is old then start to work it to the outside so that it can be replaced with foundation placed on the outside of the brood nest. Try and replace a third of it each year. Start by removing outer frames that are full of last years crystalised honey – the bees won't use it anyway. Add supers (they can fill in a week at this time of year) to ensure that there is plenty of space. Congestion is the main cause of swarming. If you plan to expand your apiary then have spare hives at the ready for a real or artificial swarm.