From splits to swarms, spring is the time when one colony becomes two. Here are some resources to help you deal with your colony's growing needs.
A beekeeper’s call to action...
From unwrapping your overwintered hive to performing your first brood inspection of the season, the increase in temperature, daylight hours and bee activity are a beekeeper’s call to action in the apiary.
Inspecting your hive after a cold winter is one of the most exciting activities for a beekeeper (after honey harvesting of course!) and will help you to discover whether your pre-winter preparations paid off.
Often you’ll find that everything isn’t perfect – don’t worry, things are rarely as you’d expect!
This is one of the advantages of owning two hives for side by side comparisons – you’ll learn more from each colony’s unique temperament plus you’ll be able to offer support from a stronger colony if one is ailing.
When inspecting be on the lookout for good population numbers, a queen, healthy brood patterns and honey stores, and most importantly, look closely for pests and diseases and treat accordingly.
If you need help with your first spring inspection, we’re here to help! We have a swarm of resources available and a knowledgeable team on hand to offer support.
Two hives are better than one
Apart from being able to harvest and share more honey, owning two hives ramps up your learning and understanding of the fascinating nature of bees.
Each colony is its own unique microcosm and community, with two you can compare colony strength, productivity, health and support ailing hives with queen cell transfers or brood if needed.
If you’re short on space, setting up a hive for a friend is an excellent opportunity to inspect and learn without the additional ownership.
Expand your apiary with a great saving
If you're hoping to expand your apiary and refresh your beekeeping accessories this season, now is a perfect time! We're offering a special discount on our June Classic Bundle.
Spring preparation for colony expansion
If you’re an experienced beekeeper, you’ll know it’s time to assemble your brood frames and get your spare brood boxes built. With warmer weather, your queen will amp up her egg-laying which means your colony will expand. You don’t want to get caught out by a colony that’s ready to reproduce with nowhere to house them!
Will you split your hive?
If you have a large, healthy hive it is possible to create a new colony from it by making what is called a split.
The basic concept is that you take a portion of an established colony and transfer it to a separate hive thereby creating two colonies. They'll each have sufficient worker bee populations, stores and their own queen.
Monitoring your splits
Some beekeepers make splits to increase their apiary or to sell to other beekeepers. Others use splits as a form of swarm control, mite control, or to reduce the size of a large colony.
Brood Frame preparation
“Beekeepers have many opinions on which is the best method. I am a total convert to foundationless frames. It’s a really tedious task waxing and wiring frames. It’s so much easier to let the bees build their own. It leaves the bees making their natural cells sized perfectly for their brood and it’s beautiful to watch them hang their natural comb in their brood nest.
Having said that, in some short season regions it is important to encourage the bees to get to the nectar flow as quickly as possible. It may be better to provide wax foundation as the bees will complete their brood comb more quickly” - Cedar Anderson
The thrill of a swarm catch
Catching a swarm of bees is an incredibly exciting beekeeping adventure and is an easy and free way to bolster your apiary!
After swarming, they seldom have comb and are just a cluster of bees. Without the complication of comb, a beekeeper can easily scoop, shake or lower the swarm into their equipment and bring them back to their apiary.
Need extra help?
There’s lots to learn when you start out beekeeping!
Spring time is crucial - and with so much conflicting advice available online, it can be difficult to know where to begin.
So, in conjunction with the world's experts, we’ve created TheBeekeeper.org
It lets you fast-track your learning easily and enjoyably. Learn in your own time with high-quality videos explaining what you need to know in order to feel confident looking after your bees.
Share with a friend
Help a newbee set up a hive or split your colony with a friend! It’s a great way to speed up your beekeeping knowledge.
Our Refer-A-Friend program allows your friend to receive $50 off their first hive, and you receive a sweet $50 reward.
If you don’t have a beekeeping buddy, consider linking up with someone local on the Flow Community Forum.