There are plenty of flowers blooming in May so make sure you put supers on for the spring crop as soon as your brood box is full of bees! At the National Bee Supplies Apiary I put the first supers on the stronger colonies Mid-April.  Now in early May I am adding a super onto the nucs I created in July last year.

Please watch the below video where I demonstrate checking the hive and adding a super.

*Please note Kacper is an experienced beekeeper.  We recommend wearing gloves unless you are absolutely comfortable.

  1. Firstly, lift the roof and cover board, gently smoking the bees.
  2. Remove the second frame to make room. Check stores and the brood in the hive (this hive has seven frames of sealed brood, two with eggs and larvae and two full frames of honey and pollen bread).
  3. Put all the frames back together to how they were before.
  4. Gently add the queen excluder and super with frames and foundation on top of the brood box.
  5. Put the cover board and roof back on.

Swarming Season

Swarming season is coming up so keep a close eye on your stronger beehives. Destroy and queen cells once you have established that you have a laying queen.  Add new frames with foundation to keep the bees busy.  Do not place foundation between frames of brood at this time of year as the nights can still be very cold. Any new frames can be added on the edge of the brood or between combs with honey.

In case the weather is cold and rainy for a week or two, it might be worth checking if the hives have got enough honey. In May an average beehive needs 15 kg of honey. It’s always better to leave a bit more for the bees than just enough. This is a tip which you can stick to all year round.

By the end of May, after the spring crop, I will be splitting some colonies. I will be showing you how to do this in next month’s video.

Honey Recipes by Gill Meller

We’re excited to announce that our newsletters will now feature honey recipes by Gill Meller, chef, food writer, food stylist and cookery teacher.

Gill has been part of the River Cottage team for over 15 years, working closely with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. He regularly writes for The Guardian and The Observer and has a monthly recipe column in Delicious magazine. Gill has written several award winning and critically acclaimed cookbooks, his latest, Root, Stem, Leaf, Flower — How to Cook with Vegetables and Other Plants (Quadrille Publishing) is available now.

This month’s recipe is a delicious Spring cabbage salad with honey & sprouted lentils! Follow the recipe below.

Spring cabbage salad with honey & sprouted lentils

Recipe by renowned chef and food writer Gill Meller.
This salad is all about the crunch and bite of the raw, and the honey-sweet warmth of the punchy dressing that brings it all together. I always look out for a firm, pointy spring cabbagelike the hispi, which is refreshing and crisp. You can pick up sprouted lentils and beans or ‘mixed sprouts’ in most supermarkets. They are moist, super-healthy and packed with an iron favour that goes beautifully with the ‘spike’ of the dressing. Once you have everything to hand, this salad comes together in minutes, making a perfect quick lunch or light supper.
Author: Gill Meller


  • 1 firm hispi cabbage (about 400g/14oz)
  • 4 white or red spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 150 g mixed sprouted lentils and/or beans
  • 2-3 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted

For The Dressing

  • 20 g ginger root, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely grated
  • 1/2 orange juice and finely grated zest
  • 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 1-2 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 50 g runny honey
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds, toasted and crushed
  • 2 tsp sesame oil


  • To make the dressing, combine the ginger, garlic, orange juice and zest, tamari or soy sauce, chilli fakes, honey, coriander seeds and sesame oil in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  • Trim of any rough or discoloured outer leaves from the cabbage. Slice in half from top to bottom, then remove the thickest part of the stem from within each half. Slice each half into thin ribbons, no thicker than 1cm (½in) wide. Wash the shredded cabbage and drain well. You can spin it dry briefly if you have a salad spinner.
  • Scatter the cabbage over a large serving platter, or onto smaller individual plates. Spoon half the dressing over the cabbage, then scatter over the spring onion.
  • Place the sprouted lentils and/or beans in a small bowl. Drizzle over 3 tablespoons of the dressing, and tumble everything together. Scatter the lentils and/or beans over the plated cabbage and spring onions. Scatter over the toasted sesame seeds and finish by drizzling over the remaining dressing. Serve immediately

WIN a Smoker Plus Fuel: May’s Beekeeping Quiz Question

We’re very happy to say Mr Moore won our last monthly beekeeping competition, who is “delighted to have one the frames and foundation for his National Hive in his garden.”

Our next beekeeping quiz question is here, and this time you have the chance to win a 7.5″x4″ stainless steel smoker with guard and faux leather bellows, plus a 1kg bag of environmentally friendly smoker fuel – all worth over £50!


All you need to do is answer via our survey, and all correct answers will be entered to a prize draw. The draw closes Friday 28th May – Good Luck!

Before you enter, please read the full terms and conditions.

10% OFF National Poly Hives

Our polystyrene beehive offers excellent thermal qualities, helping to keep hive temperate more constant, shielding bees from the worst of the heat in summer meaning bees spend less time cooling the hive and more time foraging. Keeping it warmer during the winter months results in the need for less food to see the colony safely through the Winter. Colonies build up to 2-3 weeks earlier and will also start flying earlier in the day, thus increasing the honey crop!

There’s only 4 days left of our POLY10 offer code, which gives you 10% OFF our poly hives. Choose between assembled or flat pack frames and foundation. Shop here.