Exclusive Advice with Beekeeper Kacper

After the cold and wet spring, we have had plenty of sunshine from around the middle of May until now and June started well for us at NBS. We have had lots of spring honey coming in and a few swarms. The Hawthorn has flowered exceptionally well this year and the bees have managed to collect plenty of nectar from it.

We’ve had lots of customers talking about swarming this year. One beekeeper told me, this year is worst for swarming since 1998. Make sure you are on top of swarm control in your hives to prevent it. I would recommend checking the hives for swarm cells every 9 days. Do it carefully making sure not to miss any queen cells that may be hiding in the corners of the frames. Adding drawn frames, new foundation, and extra supers can give the queen more space to lay. A good way of eliminating swarming is taking splits, and June is a great time to do so.

I start making nucs by first finding the queen in the hive I want to make a split from, putting her aside in a spare nuc box on the frame. Once I have found the queen and removed her from the hive, I start looking through the frames. I have a second nuc box ready for the nuc. I place a frame with pollen and honey, and two to three frames of sealed brood next to it. Make sure the frames have plenty of adult workers on them. It is better to have brood that is ready to emerge to put into the nuc. I fill up the nuc box with frames and foundation, and add a mated queen in the cage and put the lid on. I hang the cage with the queen in between frames of brood, with the fondant in the cage facing down. Preferably you will take the nuc to another apiary so the bees will not fly back to the hive you have taken same split from but if you haven’t got another apiary site you can do a split on the same site. If you are going to leave the split in the same apiary it is important to take the frames of brood as close to emerging as possible and to also shake bees from extra frames into the nuc. Some adult bees will fly back to the hive so you need to shake lots of bees so all the young ones will stay in your new split. It is also a good idea to close the entrance of the nuc with fresh grass loosely. When the grass wilts the bees will slowly release themselves and by then they will smell the new queen in the cage and they will not leave the brood in there. If the bees haven’t removed the grass from the entrance by the next day, pull the grass out preferably in the evening. After the nuc is made, I put the queen back into it’s hive and fill it with frames and foundation. Taking a few frames from the hive which wants to swarm and adding new frames gives gives the workers plenty to do and usually helps to stop them from swarming.

A couple days later I go back to the newly made nuc and I check the frame with brood for any emergency cells the bees have made. I remove them all and open the tab in the queen cage. Bees will eat their way through the fondant and release the queen.

Here in Devon, our summer flow doesn’t usually start until the end of June and we have a June gap but this year seems to be different as the clover and bramble are already starting to flower and there is fresh nectar in the hives. Last year the June gap started by the end of May and the summer flow started by mid-June.


Photographer of the Year 2023

Don’t forget to enter our Photographer of the Year Competition!

Photo by Martin Nichols

Whether you’re an experienced photographer or you’re handy with your phone camera, we would love to see your beekeeping pics. We have 8 categories to enter and fantastic prizes to be won, including a £300 ONE4ALL voucher or a £400 Voucher to spend on anything in our online shop! Plus, the runner up will receive a £20 Gift Voucher to use online with us! Head to our NBS POTY Page for more details on how to enter.



Share on Instagram: National Bee Supplies (@national_bee_supplies)

Share on Twitter:  National Bee Supplies (@NatBeeSupplies) / Twitter

Share on Facebook: National Bee Supplies | Facebook


Header Image by Christopher Parkes.