Northants Bee Keepers Association

Northamptonshire Beekeepers' Association (NBKA) Registered Charity No. 295593

 

Northants Bee Keepers Association

Copyright © NBKA 2007-2013

Northants Bee Keepers Association
NORTHAMPTONSHIRE BEEKEEPERS ASSOCIATION
NORTHAMPTONSHIRE BEEKEEPERS’ ASSOCIATION

A member organisation representing beekeepers in the County of Northamptonshire

MONTHLY TASKS - MAY

1.  In preparation for the summer have spare equipment such as: three supers per hive (one could be with foundation); for each pair of hives have a spare brood box with comb, floor and roof, and nucleus box with at least four combs.

2.  If you have not yet marked the queen do it in May so you can find her if the hive prepares to swarm.

3.  Find (by asking or reading) how to carry out a Bailey frame change or a Shook Swarm.

4.  Place a nucleus hive out (with mainly foundation) as a bait hive for swarms. If you notice bees investigating the bait hive check your hives for queen cells as the bees may be looking for a new home prior to swarming.

5.  Keep ahead of the bee’s requirements for honey storage by placing supers on. As soon as the super placed on in April is half full of bees, put another super on. From then on be guided by the weather, if good, place more supers on when the top super is half filled.

6.  Find out how to make an artificial swarm. The Pagden method is to move the hive a metre to one side. On the vacated site place a new hive of floor, brood box, cover board and roof, the brood box should have one frame removed. Smoke the colony gently and find the queen. If the queen is on a frame of brood remove any queen cells on the frame and place the queen and frame in the space made in the new brood box. If the queen is not on sealed brood, shake her and the bees on that frame into the new hive, find a frame with sealed brood, remove the queen cells and place that frame into the new brood box. From the original (moved) hive take the queen excluder and super(s) and place them on the new hive.

Replace one frame with foundation in the moved brood box and after two days feed with a gallon of sugar syrup. After seven days move the old brood box to the other side of the new hive; this depletes the old hive of flying bees and reduces the chance of the old hive swarming. Leave for three weeks and when pollen is being taken in inspect for brood.

7.  Check every 7 days for queen cells: If a hive with a good queen starts queen cells use them to raise queen(s). Find the queen and place her (without queen cells) in a clean brood box with two frames of comb and add frames with foundation to fill the box. Remove the original hive to one side and place the box with the queen on the vacated site with a new floor. Remove the excluder and supers from the original hive and put them on the new brood box. The brood box with the queen cells can be moved three metres away, add a cover board and roof and leave. After two days give the box with queen cells a gallon of 50:50 sugar syrup. If you want more than one queen, replace the floor with a double entrance floor and place a division board in the brood box, so that each side of the brood box has its own entrance and a queen cell.

8.  If you collect a swarm of unknown origin check it for varroa and if possible hive it away from your apiary. Treat it with Apistan or lactic acid or oxalic acid. After two weeks you can bring it back to the apiary.

9.  Continue to keep records on every hive.

10.  At the start of the month change the brood chamber for a clean one.

11.  Scrape/brush wax from the excluder, and remove burr comb from the top of the frames.

12.  Replace 4 frames in the brood chamber with frames of foundation every year.

13.  As soon as the rape flowers fade and the yellow disappears take off all sealed honey and extract it immediately, otherwise the honey will go solid.

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