Synopsis : What can you do with the spare nucs and queens left after successful swarm control? After a ‘month of mayhem’, calm descends on the apiary and there are queens to mark, colonies to unite and – thankfully – a bit more time for everything.
The first half of the beekeeping season – yes, for me at least, more than half of it has gone already – started very slowly. The long, cold early Spring seemed to delay colonies from making swarm preparations, though they certainly built up strongly by foraging hard when conditions were suitable and there was a lot of pollen in the boxes.
And, because colonies were strong and running out of space, when things finally warmed up everything went a bit mad.
Fortunately, my apiary visit at the beginning of this week suggests that the ‘month of mayhem’ is over and it should now all be plain sailing until the end of the season.
No longer do I feel as though I’m playing ‘catch up’ all the time, juggling a dozen metaphorical plates to get a good honey crop and not lose swarms, desperately searching for spare equipment, or cursing my lack of frames, or dummy boards or – most recently – those little plastic ‘candy’ caps for JzBz queen introduction cages 1.
And, appropriately, these apiary visits were periodically interrupted by some spectacular cloudbursts … but, as I drove home in the calm afterwards it was clear both I and the bees had weathered the storm and things were looking good for the summer honey and the remainder of the season.