Exclusive Advice with Beekeeper Kacper

By the end of April, the swarming season has begun, so I am checking the hives on a regular basis throughout May. I am looking for any swarm cells and destroying them when I see them, this will prevent the colonies from swarming but it needs to be done regularly and you must be careful not to miss any Queen cells. In order to give the colonies more space and something to do so they can focus on work rather than swarming, I add frames of foundation to the hives. Making splits from the hives that want to swarm is also a good idea.

I often add another brood chamber above the excluder to most of my hives since the single brood chamber does not give the queen enough room to lay at this time of year. Two old frames with sealed brood are lifted from the bottom box to the second box and the remaining space is filled with frames of foundation. Make sure the queen always remains below the queen excluder. To replace the frames with brood that I am lifting from the brood chamber, I will add one frame with foundation at each end of the bottom brood box. The queen excluder goes on and then the second box with the new frames is added with the two frames of brood placed in the middle of the box. When the brood is lifted above the excluder, it will immediately draw the bees to the second box.  The foundation that I have added is always drawn quickly by the workers, and within days the queen will lay eggs.

On the next inspection, I usually remove two or three more sealed brood frames from the bottom brood chamber and then replace these with an equal number of foundation frames taken from the top box. The second box’s frames may have been partially drawn by that point. Everything is dependent on the current strength of the hive and nectar flow. More supers or deep boxes can be added on top of the second box, this can be as many honey boxes as needed. With this method, the queen has a place to lay plenty of eggs, workers are kept busy creating new comb, and the old comb from the brood chamber is replaced with new comb. Once the brood emerges in the second brood chamber and old combs are filled with honey, the frames can then be extracted and re-used for honey or melted down and replaced with new foundation (please note if the frames have been in contact with Apivar/Apistan treatments then the honey cannot be harvested and the frames can only be used for stores). The process of lifting a sealed brood can be repeated throughout the swarming season. If I can’t see the queen and I want to lift up frames with brood I will shake all the bees from the combs into the bottom brood chamber. You don’t want to shake the queen on to the floor and lose her, so make sure all the bees are shaken down in to the brood chamber.

Make sure you leave enough honey for the colony after the spring honey harvest because the June gap often begins by the end of May, and in some regions by mid-May as it has altered slightly with climate change.


New Smoker Fuel for 2023

New Lavender Smoker Pellets 1kg 

Api Lavande is a completely plant-based fuel for smokers made by transforming the lavender plant into pellet form. Its formulation allows for a cold smoke, which bothers bees less during the visit to the apiary.

Made of French lavender straw, these pellets are a completely natural and plant-based product.

The main advantages of this product is; a healthy and long lasting smoke thanks to its formula & it’s slow burning which means being able to use the smoker for hours.



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Header Image by Moira Munro.