Exclusive Advice with Beekeeper Kacper

Here in Devon, we usually have most of the nectar coming in July but this year has been a little bit different so far. The summer crop looks like it will be good this year. When clover and bramble started flowering, we still had warm and sunny weather for a few days but it quickly changed to wind and rain which we have had for a couple of weeks now and the bees haven’t been able to forage as much as they usually do. Hopefully, in the next week or so the weather will turn warmer and the bees will be able to collect some more nectar before the flowers go over.

In July, swarming is pretty much over and there is no need to check your hives for swarm control regularly. However, I still check the bees roughly every two weeks. Sometimes it is a case of lifting the crown board and adding an extra super or two, and sometimes I check the brood chamber to make sure the queen is laying eggs and the brood is okay.

I usually make most of the splits earlier in the year but sometimes I do a few in July. If I am making splits in July I am doing them a little bit bigger than in early spring as they have less time to build up before the winter. I do usually make one out of three frames of brood and bees and a frame with honey and pollen. At the end, I am adding a mated queen in the cage and leaving it for a few days, usually two to three days and then I am going back to the nuc, destroying any emergency cells bees have built in that time and I am opening the tab in the queen cage so the bees can eat through the fondant and release the queen.

As the honey extracting season is upon us I am getting ready for it. Making sure all the extracting equipment is clean and ready to use. I am stocking up with buckets and jars ready for the harvest. I usually extract summer honey in mid-August that’s when the crop is usually over in Devon unless the bees are near the heather.

I have noticed a few wasps flying around already which is pretty early. I am making sure all the nucs and any smaller hives have small entrances and no holes anywhere for the wasps to get in. Wasps can destroy a small colony of bees or nucs in a matter of days so do make sure your hives are wasp-proof and the entrances have entrance blocks in.


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