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1st Year BeeKeeping

When there is less than a full box of frames the bees are reluctant to work on the exposed face of the last frame, but they will more readily do so if it is flanked with a dummy board. Later, when the box is full and the combs are all drawn except the outer ones, the position of these may be exchanged with the frames next to them. Moving the foundation away from the outer wall in this way will encourage the bees to draw it out more quickly. Sugar syrup (1 kg sugar to 1ltr water) in a rapid feeder, that can be easily replenished, should always be available so long as comb building in the brood box is in progress.

Examination at 7 to 10 day intervals will show progress made by the colony and the need for more comb space or stores. When the bees are beginning to work the last comb in the brood box the colony is ready for a super for the storage of honey or to provide clustering space for the increasing population of bees. To avoid giving the colony too much room at this stage the super should, preferably, be a shallow one. It should contain a full complement of frames fitted with foundation, spaced the same distance apart as those in the brood box. The crownboard is removed and a queen excluder placed on top of the brood box; the super is placed on the queen excluder and the crownboard on the super, followed by the roof.

Feeding can well be continued until the bees have made a good start at drawing out the foundation, but should be discontinued before any syrup is stored in the drawn combs. It is unlikely that a further super will be required in the first year, but if one is needed it should be given on top of the first.