If you’re a new beekeeper summers can be strange.  The bees are busy working but there’s not all that much for you to do.  So what should you be doing right now?

The most important thing you can do in both the spring and the summer is checking to make sure the bees have enough room to work.  Almost like humans, if the bees get too cramped they’ll start looking for a new place to live, leaving you with half the bees you had before and a lot less workers to produce honey and help the hive survive the winter.

So while it’s tempting to simply leave the bees alone while the weather is warm and the work is being done, do make sure to do a semi regular hive inspection.

Take a look for swarm cells (large peanut like cells that indicate a new queen being made) and make sure that you have space for bees to work.

How much space?  In most cases if the bees only have two frames of foundation not pulled out you’d want to put on another super.  If you think there’s something blooming that they’re collecting you may even want to put on two new supers (honey flows can happen quickly!).  If they have lots of space still to pull out foundation or lots of pulled out foundation that isn’t full of anything they likely have enough room.  Again though, if you’re not planning on checking the bees for a couple of weeks you might just decide to put on a couple of supers at the same time to insure there is enough space.

In general bees won’t swarm late in the season but if they are forced it can be disastrous for both the swarm and the hive that’s left.

So how many supers do you have on your hive?  Share on our Facebook page here or send us your pictures to worldofbeekeepinghelp (at) gmail.com.  Please note in your email if it’s OK to use your pictures in a blog post sharing these pictures or on Facebook and/or twitter.

Picture: Swarm of Bees in Hedgerow (Simon Barnes) / CC BY-SA 2.0

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