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
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
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
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.