Exclusive Advice with Beekeeper Kasper
The Beekeeping season started early this year thanks to the warm and sunny weather in Spring. White clover is already flowering in Devon, and blackberry is full of buds that are starting to open.
In June, hives still need to be checked for swarm control. I am checking hives every 9 to 14 days for swarm cells, knocking them down if I see any. Using two brood chambers with a queen excluder can help you deal with old frames and diminish the swarming instinct by adding more fresh undrawn frames and foundation for the bees to draw out and the queen to lay in.
When the first brood chamber is full of brood, I take the frames with sealed brood and lift them to the second brood box above the excluder. Before I lift frames with brood, I make sure the queen is not on them. I do this by finding the queen in the brood box first or by simply shaking the bees off the frames into the original brood chamber and then placing the frames with sealed brood above the excluder in the second deep which will now be used as a honey super. I am lifting two or three frames of sealed brood at a time and placing them in the middle of the box. This allows the queen plenty of space for laying eggs as well as getting rid of old dark combs. Bees will fill the frames with honey soon after the brood will emerge.
Once the honey is capped, we can extract it and use the frames again if they are not very old or melt them down using a solar wax extractor or similar. I use this method every year to rotate the frames and it works for me. This allows me to change at least 50% of the brood frames every year for new ones. For strong colonies which have half-filled the previously added super, I add two supers at the same time, ideally, these will be of drawn comb. It will not hurt the hive if you give the bees a little bit more space than they need at this time of year.
If a hive has swarm cells, even if we destroy them and give the bees lots of space, it may still swarm. The best way to stop swarming is to make a split – June is the best time to do this as the new colony will still have time to grow and be strong before winter comes. You can watch our video on how to make a nuc/split here:
June Honey Recipe by Gill Meller:
Looking for a tasty new summer dish? Gill Meller shares another delicious recipe;
Fruits that are sweet, floral and fleshy are made for bacon, especially smoked bacon. They play so well with the salty cure, and their softness is a textural gift to crisp rind. You could try this recipe with apples, but there is something about peaches for breakfast that makes me feel good. Honey and sage (I could say those two words over and over) are very much natural additions to this, the simplest of recipes.
Peaches with sage, smoked bacon & honey
- ½ tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 rashers dry-cured smoked back bacon
- 2 ripe peaches, halved and stoned
- 1 handful of sage leaves
- 1 tablespoon runny honey
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Place a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the oil, then the bacon rashers. When the rashers are sizzling, add the peaches, cut-side down. After 3–4 minutes turn the fruit and scatter over the sage leaves. Throughout cooking, turn the bacon every so often, until it crisps to your liking.
- Divide the peaches and bacon equally between two plates and season the peaches with a little salt and pepper, if they need it. Bring to the table, then trickle with honey immediately before serving.
Order Gill’s Time Cookbook for more recipes or follow @gill.meller on Instagram.
Photography: Andrew Montgomery
Photographer of the Year Competition 2022
Don’t forget to enter our photographer of the year competition! You don’t need to be a professional photographer to enter – we accept phone and camera photos. This year we have 8 categories to enter and 9 fantastic prizes to be won, including the grand prize of a National Hive Starter Kit! Plus 8 runners up with win a cedar solitary bee nester. Head to our NBS POTY page for all the details on how to enter!
Header image by David Nicholas.