Jobs for the Month
- Continue weekly inspections and undertake swarm control if required.
- If inspections reveal that food stores are low, feed 1:1 syrup in a contact or rapid feeder. Reduce the hive entrance to avoid robbing taking place.
- Ensure water is available – foraging and making honey is thirsty work.
- Add another super when the current one is almost full of bees, not honey.
- If you are aware of any Oilseed Rape in your area, consider extracting the honey as soon as the bees start capping it and if no droplets fly out of uncapped cells when you quickly shake the frame. It will quickly set in the comb and if you don’t, you may live to regret it!
- Check for queen cells and mark any new queens with the years designated colour.
- Continue to replace any dirty / damaged frames as required or scheduled.
- Monitor for varroa: an average daily mite fall of 10 or more could mean the colony has a problem and needs treating if that’s a regime you use. MAQS can be used with honey supers on (but check the packaging for the correct use).
- Continue monitoring for Asian hornets in your apiary: baits should now be protein-based and offered in an open dish to avoid bycatch; weight the dish with a pebble.
- Keep the appropriate records – memories aren’t what they could be…
Lastly – Enjoy your beekeeping and be ready to learn from the bees… Remember the Green Cross Code? It also works well in the apiary…
- Stop and ask yourself what your intention is today – have you got the right equipment with you, enough time and the right conditions to carry it out?
- Look at your hives, your bees and the surroundings – does everything look normal, are the bees flying, taking in pollen, is the queen robust?
- Listen to the sounds – contented humming or angry buzzing? Time spent observing your bees is even more valuable than reading about them – after all, bees don’t read books!
**Check out the Tip of the Month**
Suggested frequency of visits – weekly
June can bring contentment and anxiety in equal measure. It should be a beautiful, sunny month with plentiful forage to help the colonies build up their strength and fill the supers, but… did any hot, dry and windy weather in May bring the season forward and therefore have the bees been busy, building their numbers and filling the supers meaning honey aplenty (and swarming as well)? Is it time to plan for extracting and ordering your jars and labels? Remember – Oilseed rape honey sets solid and will not be easy to extract once it does.
Be ready for any ‘June Gap’ that may arise. In some areas there may still be a period when forage is poor between the spring flowers such as sycamore, blackthorn, hawthorn and oilseed rape, and the start of the summer flowers such as lime, clover, blackberry and sweet chestnut. Because of this, beekeepers need to be vigilant, as always, that there is sufficient food in the hive to carry the colony through, especially if we have a spell of bad weather as well.
This is a particularly important consideration when deciding to take off honey. Frequently colonies are left starving when poor weather prevented them from replenishing stores after an early honey harvest was taken off. Be mindful of forage and weather conditions and leave some honey for the bees if you do extract at this time of year.
Despite a beekeepers best efforts to prevent or control swarming, colonies may still swarm if we haven’t at least kept up with the need for more space for the bees to store nectar during a strong flow. June can be a busy month for the swarm collectors and they’ll have their boxes and swarm collecting kit permanently in their vehicles. Try not to be a statistic!
Our thanks to Nottinghamshire Beekeepers Association for some of the content above.