BEEKEEPING COLUMN - Creating a buzz in March - The Malvern Observer

BEEKEEPING COLUMN - Creating a buzz in March

Malvern Editorial 30th Mar, 2024   0
Welcome to the third edition of Worcestershire beekeeper, Jas Payne’s monthly column. Take a fascinating glimpse into the beautiful, industrious and vital role of bees in nature and experience life as an apiarist.

The day and night time temperatures have continued to rise through March, and the number of bees in my hives has been increasing rapidly. In four weeks time the first main nectar flow of the year – when spring blossoms produce an abundance of nectar – will begin, and the colonies need to be ready.

The bees emerging now start their life doing jobs inside the hive – cleaning the waxy cells, caring for developing bees, feeding the queen, making beeswax from special glands on their abdomens, and repairing damaged comb – and in four to six weeks time it will be their responsibility to leave the hive as foragers to gather in the surplus of nectar while it’s available.

I use purpose built hives called ‘Nationals’ for my bees, with removable wooden frames inside that have sheets of ready made beeswax fixed into them. The bees add more wax to this foundation, creating their famous hexagon shaped cells. The queen lays her eggs into these cells, and the bees store pollen and nectar in them. I can lift the frames in and out for inspections without causing damage, and this allows me to check for diseases, reporting anything amiss to my local bee inspector, and also any signs that the bees are preparing to swarm (I’ll tell you more about swarming later in the year!)

In National hives, each brood box (where the queen lays her eggs) holds eleven frames. Over time the wax becomes dirty and brittle, so each year I replace three or four of the oldest brood frames in each hive so that the queens always have clean wax combs in which to lay their eggs. This month I have been busy with a hammer and a nail gun (fuelled by tea and chocolate!) making dozens of new frames for the season ahead.




By the time I write to you again in April I hope to have completed my first spring inspections, and begun adding additional boxes onto the hives to give the bees enough space to store all that lovely nectar, ready for them to turn it into honey…because that’s when the beekeeping fun really starts!

Written by Jas Payne


You can read Jas’ beekeeping column in the Bromsgrove Standard on the last Friday of every month.

It will also be released here online. 

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