Take a five minute look inside the hive to do a little Spring cleaning

Old Brood Comb (1024x768)Only if it is warm enough (over 12 degrees Celsius) in the middle of the day, you can take a five minute look inside the hive to do a little Spring cleaning. Any longer and there is a chance that the uncapped brood will chill.

If you find any frames with mould, holes, broken lugs or too many drone-sized cells, move them to the edge of the brood nest and replace with foundation when they are empty (over 2 to 3 weeks). If these frames contain old honey, then slash at the wax cappings with your hive tool so that the honey can be easily used by the bees.

It is important not to separate any frames containing brood from the rest of the brood as they will chill at this time of year on cold nights especially when there are not enough adult bees to cover them to keep them warm.

Sometimes at the end of the winter the outside frames contain mouldy pollen. Although the bees need pollen at this time of year to feed the new larvae, fresh pollen is the most nutritious, so get rid of these ‘manky’ frames. You can scrape them down to the midrib if they are not too bad or cut the wax out and replace it with new foundation. The bees should pull out the new wax as soon as the temperature outside rises and a nectar flow begins.

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