Tip 2: Start with more than one hive

Ideally after an Autumn reading and attending your local association events you could start out in the Spring by purchasing a nucleus or two of bees. Nucleus’s (Nuc’s) can usually be bought from a local beekeeper and are comprised of 5 or 6 frames of bees with a queen. These can later be transferred into your prepared hive with new frames with foundation placed either side. Working with small starter colonies can be less intense that opening a full hive and numbers should grow along with your experience.

Unfortunately, some colonies of bees are lost over winter. In 2019 a survey by the British Beekeeping Association (BBKA) showed 17.3 % of colonies were lost/perished over winter. There are many reasons this can happen but if you have more than one hive you have a better chance coming through the winter with bees, these can later be split if need be, also you have the advantage that you can compare the colony/colonies.

An example of how you can use one colony to help the another is creating a test frame- If you are not sure whether a colony is queen right you can take a frame of brood with young larvae from the hive you know is right and put into the other to see if the colony with a question mark draws out emergency queen cells on the test frame. This is a useful diagnostic tool.

We sell Queens and 5 frame Nucs. Ceri will be happy to discuss options and talk you through how to introduce your new Queens or re house your nucs into your waiting empty hive. Queens can be posted directly to you via Royal Mail and Nucs or packages of bees would need to be collected from us. Here is the link for more information https://www.cardiganbayhoney.co.uk/bees-and-queens/