Beekeepers in the Northern hemisphere normally have a very busy calendar this time of the year. At the beginning of April, the weather was particularly hard to predict from one day to the other, as it could quickly change from sunny to cold showers and ever freezing temperatures at nights. Mid-April the weather improved, the early blossoms began to appear and the bees found more pollen and nectar sources.
My garden looks truly transformed now. Dandelions, willows, fruit trees and some berries are in full bloom. Needless to say, my bees are buzzing happily, with workers making trips outside more confidently and for longer periods of time. Yet, the true belle of ball is the Queen Bee, and you need to keep a close eye on her.
For example, with the bee population growing at a fast pace, you need to make sure the queen has not laid eggs in the honey super. This usually happens because she is getting crowded in the lower deep hive body boxes or has just wandered off. If this is the case, you should let the brood hatch and use a queen excluder to keep her out of the honey super.
Swarms are also very common this time of the year. In order to prevent them, look for any queen cells which are longer than the rest and pointed. These need to be destroyed and are often found in areas within the hive that are difficult to find. However, if you need to replace your existing queen bee with a younger one, then you should leave them alone.
When it comes to keeping up with mandatory beekeeping activities, my recommendation is that you create detailed ToDo lists on your Apiary Book app for each hive and then just go through them at your own pace. In its simplest form, a to-do list is a way of organizing your thoughts by writing down and prioritizing items that need to be completed. It’s a great time-management technique that supports productivity. I personally use ToDo lists and the app’s Reminder feature because my personal belief is: timing is everything, especially when it comes beekeeping!
During spring, I recommend that you make regular visits to the hive – at least once a week, especially from mid-April in the northern hemisphere, mid-October for those in the southern hemisphere. Remember to always log your observations/notes in your app and if you have a PRO subscription, also sync them in the Cloud. This way, your data is safe and accessible from your desktop/laptop later on.
In the upcoming articles I will be writing about detecting varroa mites and treatments, making splits, catching swarms and other interesting topics. Happy beekeeping!