1. A feed of 4 litres of 50/50 honey will help hives below 4 kg of stores. For those
hives found to be in dire need keep feeding until nectar becomes available.
2. Colonies on double brood boxes normally will not require feeding if stores of
20 kg were available at the end of September. The lower box can be placed above the
top box where most (all) of the brood will be residing.
3. The first internal hive inspection can safely be carried out on a warm day when
the flowering currant has bloomed. Check for brood, brood health and stores (at least
5 kg) and make a note of them in your records Now is a good time to mark your queens.
4. If you find the hive is queen-less and the colony has three frames of bees give
it a frame of eggs and emerging brood into the middle of the bees cluster and feed
a litre of 50/50 sugar syrup; in five days check for queen cells and if found leave
5. If you winter with a super under your brood box place the super on a queen excluder
on top of the brood box, making sure your queen is in the brood box.
6. Place a super of drawn comb on the brood box,over a queen excluder, two weeks
before the rape comes into flower and put on another super (with comb or foundation)
when the rape flowers, and keep weekly checks for more supers.
7. Strong colonies can be weakened and weak colonies made stronger by exchanging
frames of emerging brood (with their bees but no queen) with an empty frame or a
frame of foundation. Make sure the bees are healthy.
8. Before you bees swarm have spare equipment to permit an artificial swarm to be
performed; e.g. brood box, floor, cover board and roof.
9. At the end of the month you can start rearing your own queens. Look up a simple
method and try breeding one queen (see Wilson, Cloake, etc in D Sims’ book “60 years
10. Start checking for queen cells every 7 days as soon as the rape is in flower.
If you find queen cells carry out an artificial swarm.( see Month of May)
11. If you have solid floors change them for clean floors, Clean the old floor with
brush and torch.
12. Place a dummy board into every brood box. This is much easier to remove than
a comb when you are inspecting the hive.
13. Try to replace 50% of your brood combs each year. Your bees will be healthier
and less likely to swarm.