Beekeeping Supplies UK Hive Tools
Welcome to our first bee blog post in March 2021. We thought it would be time to share a few beekeeping tips for beginners, or people thinking about taking up beekeeping as a hobby with one hive, or planning on buying several hives for a business or as an extra source of income for a farm plus the added benefit of crop pollination.
Around this time of year you will want to make the first inspection of your hive(s), you’ll be looking out for how much brood you have, the different stages they have developed to and how much capped honey and pollen you can see. Time to view the overall quantity of bees too, hopefully 2021 will be good year.
It wont be long before swarming season starts, so make sure there is plenty of space for the queen to lay by replacing a couple of the older brood frames with fresh new frames and foundation.
It is time to start weekly hive inspections, looking for the queen, eggs and larve and queen cells. If the queen hasn’t been marked, it helps to spot her next time if you mark her with a queen marking pen. Keep a look out for any signs of disease, especially EFB and AFB. These are both notifiable diseases, so contact the National Bee Unit if you suspect you have an infection. You can also test for these with one of our foulbrood test kits.
Beekeeping Frames, Hive Tools, Straps and Frames
Constructing frames is time consuming so make sure you have frames and foundation ready for when you need them.
Ploy Nucs with a Mesh Floor, Miller Feeder and Deep Roof
It is a good idea to have a spare poly nuc or hive ready in case you come across a swarm, perhaps from one of your own hives.
We supply the 4 different sizes of Polynucs and Hives, manufactured by Maisemore in the UK.
The main one is the British National Nucleus, consisting of a brood box with open mesh floor, Miller feeder and Roof.
We also sell a British Standard 14×12″ Polynuc. These are the same as the standard British Standard Nuc, above, with an added eke, to extend the height of the brood box to accept deeper 14×12″ frames.
We also supply Commercial Polynucs and 5 Frame, Langstroth Polynucs
We sell Queen markers to let yo mark your queen when you do find her. It makes it easier to spot her as the colony growes and the colour coding system allows to to identify how old she is. If you can’t find the queen and there is no evidence of eggs or brood, then it is likely that she has swarmed and a new queen will have replaced her. The new queen will need to mate before she starts laying, so check after another week and look for her and signs of eggs and larvae. If there is no sign of a queen after a couple of weeks, it may be necessary to re-queen the hive.
Bee Food and Feeding Scenarios
If you have a hive that’s Queenright with capped honey in the super plus brood box stores then feed may not be needed.
Candipolline is a great feed at this time of year. It contains pollen, which stimulates the queen to lay eggs.
If you check your hive and it is Queenright with an almost full capped super it’s time to add another. A beehive may have varying levels of supers: one, two, and even more, supers depending on the visual honey flow that you can see during the hive inspection.
When a hive is demonstrating an excellent honey flow, these kind of strong hives can fill a super in 10-14 days, in rare cases in just a couple of days, this is a great scenario for UK beekepers. So, flow depending you may need up to four or five supers above the brood chamber.
Queen Piping in Bee Hives – What is Queen piping?
These are acoustic audio signals emitted by young queens which happens around the process of swarming. Commonly referred to as “tooting” the piping and tooting signal starts with one or two pulses of 1-second toots with an increase in both frequency and amplitude.
When you identify the newly emerged Queen, and hear her piping then inspect stores in the brood frames, and also in the super, so feeding at this juncture may not be required.
Should you be rewarded with a large hive, it may have doubled in size quicker than expected in around a week, you should see frames of wall to wall capped brood. In this scenario it’s recommended to add a 1:1 feed lease leaving a rapid feeder with 1:1 sugar feed on to help them onwards in their growth.
Merging Hives with newspaper
It’s possible to merge 2 hives together by placing a couple of sheets of newspaper on top of one brood box, then laying the other brood box on top. You will see that in just a few days that the bees will have chewed through the newspaper and become one colony. This neat little paper trick allows time for the Queen’s pheromone to transmit throughout the hive, spreading to all corners and enabling the two colonies to accept each other and become one.