A Year in the Apiary (week by week)

Updated: Mar 20, 2021

The clue is in the title!!. As a help to anyone who is new to bee keeping and is a the start of their first season looking after bees, I have decide to give a week by week, and blow by blow account of everything I do with Two of my colonies that I keep in my small back garden here in Southampton.

The new season for me is just about to start, and I hope to carryout the first inspections of all of my colonies next week ( weather permitting). up until now the temperature has been to cold for carrying out inspections, but looking at the forecast things seem to be going in the right direction.

I have chosen these two colonies, and as luck would have it they are side by side in the apiary, because there is a noticeable difference in the number of bees that have been leaving and returning to the hives, and at the moment I can only guess as to what is happening inside each colony.

The Hive on the Left is the stronger of the two colonies.

All will be revealed when I inspect them next week!.

In the meantime though I will be finishing the Nucleus Boxes I have been making.

I have constructed 4x 5 Frame Nucleus Boxes and 4x 4 Frame Nucleus Boxes.

Here is a photo of the work in progress, but will upload an image of the finished items, and as the season progresses will show you how I put them to use

That is all for this week. if you have any questions then please feel free to message me and I will get back to you as quickly as possible.


Unfortunately the weather this week has still been just to cold to carry out any inspections, but the forecast for the coming week is good, so I will be carrying out the first inspections of the season on Monday 22/03/21.

I have not been idle though, and today made a couple of double screen divider boards. these are not my idea but something I found on the internet. Bob Binnie of Blue Ridge Mountain Honey in the USA has posted some fantastic articles on YouTube and they are one of his ideas. They make taking early season splits , as part of swarm control really easy and I will post how I use them as and when I do.

Looking at the activity in front of hive 1, that is the hive on the left of the photo above, I am sure that they will need splitting very soon. The reason for making an early season split is to reduce the population of the hive an create more space for the expanding brood nest.

This time of the year a colony starts to expand rapidly, and if the bees inside the colony become overcrowded they will look to swarm. When I carryout the split I will reduce the Colony to 4 frames of brood and , 2 frames of food, and 2 frames of foundation and I will insert a follower board to keep confined to 8 frames. As the brood nest expands into the foundation provide, I will move the follower board and insert another frame until eventually have the full compliment of 10 frames.

Here are 2 photos of the double screen boards

Please feel free to ask any questions you might have, and any comments are always welcome. That's all for this week and I look forward to sharing how the first inspection go on Monday.

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