Beekeeping Information Centre

Bee Craft Timely Reminder – 18th April 2018

When all but the outside frames of a box are covered with bees, add another box. This is normally a super (above a queen excluder).

However, you may wish to add another brood chamber or brood super if your queen is very prolific. In this case you will not need the queen excluder until you start to add supers for the collection of honey. Sometimes it is difficult to coax the bees up above a queen excluder so you may need to move a drawn comb up, containing food but no brood that a few weeks before had been placed in the brood chamber on the edge of the brood nest. Some beekeepers do not use an excluder at all as they think that this will delay or prevent swarming. However, this can cause the queen to lay upwards in a tunnel shape which will mean that inspecting a colony will take a lot longer, as you have to look at brood in many more boxes!

While the spring is late starting this year, watch out for the golden fields of Oil Seed Rape (commonly known simply as OSR) in your area.  Depending where you are in England you might find it is starting to flower or only half way to full height. Take note as super/s are likely to be required before the crop is in full flower.

NOTE:  In order to extract this honey, you will need to remove any supers before the bees have capped it over. Once capped it will not extract! Extract into buckets not jars as the honey will go hard.  It will need to be reheated  – more information on this later.

I’ve heard it referred to as the fountain of youth for bees but it is definitely early onset of old age for beekeepers if you let them cap it!  You have been warned!”

Supers on hives. Photo: Pauline Aslin


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