Well it is nearly upon us - the 11th September 2021 and the MUBK Annual Honey Show. How do I enter you are asking, well 

It's a really good question if you are a new beekeeper, and sometimes a not so easy one to answer if you are experienced!

queencell

The trick really is to try to read the hive and establish what is going on, then react accordingly. It could be there are several or many ways to manage the issue for it may not be a problem. But it might. So here's a really handy booklet produced by the Welsh Government on what to do .... It's an easy read with lots of pointers.

Well 10.00am 16th April and the temperature is only 5 degrees so I'm not opening up yet! That was how I began the last blog, this time I'm saying

Late February and early March has already seen warm balmy days when the bees have been out collecting pollen and going on cleansing flights. Don't be fooled though, this is not quite the time to start feeding to stimulate the queen. We could easily have some very cold days (like today in fact - hardly got over 6 degrees 6/3/21)
Towards the end of this month then. we should be getting some warmer days and some gentle feeding will then stimulate the queen to lay more and colonies to start growing from their current slow pace.
Inspections should really only start when 15 degrees C is a regular temperature and 3 days in a row is a good sign. If you like horticultural reminders when the flowering currant is in bloom it is usually time to begin!

So what to look for on your first inspection - 

Last years records so you know what you left - and start new ones for the new season
Bees!
Eggs - preferably day old eggs so you know the queen laid today
Queen cells, and play cups
Quality of your comb - do you need to change any, or all of it
Pollen
Clean up any winter rubbish - dead bees in bottom of hive, propolis around the roof and frame tops, wild comb
Stores - feed if low especially if you are expectibng them to draw new comb
Disease - do you have any that needs attention, or are they busy and healthy
Size - how many bees, not actual numbers, but seams.
          Below 5 is weak, and might do better in a nuc
          5-7 moderate for early spring - feed to boost
          8-10 you're in for a problem if you have sealed brood - get a super on or consider splitting by artificial swarming 

The first inspection is always a lovely start to the year. What you haven't got ready by now will soon tbe too late so get your equipment up to speed and ready for the off!

 

This will take you through the steps of your first inspection of the season

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