April holiday

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Black Comb

Queen Bee
Aug 10, 2009
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We are planning a 3 week holiday to Europe in the spring and I had pencilled in last 3 weeks in March.
Easter Monday is 5th April.
SWMBO says nah we are going in April when it's warmer so it looks like last 3 weeks in April, thus avoiding Easter week.

Will end of April be a bit late for the first inspection of the hives?
It all depends on this climate change mumbo jumbo.

Rather than set a date, just go by the weather.

You might have allready inspected by then, and if so make preparations.
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As soon as it is warm and bees are flying strongly, you can open the hive. I was opening up in mid-February last year, bees were at swarming strength by late April. Most spring cleaning was done by the end of March/early April around here last year. Colonies spring-cleaned at our apiary meeting, in late April, were left, specially to show the beginners. Who can tell.

I will be shook-swarming as early as possible, at least with some colonies, so it will be when I can, regardless of the date - provided conditions are satisfactory.

Regards, RAB
I was contacted re first swarm beginning of April this year- just be aware that yours may be thinking the same thing :ack2:
I went to Africa this April,, BAD MOVE..
Came back to many hives having swarmed, it was a very warm spring this year..but who knows what 2010 will bring.
I am off to Africa in March this year.
If you have any oil seed rape near the hives I suggest there is a near certainty one or more will try and swarm.

If you wanted to ensure they didn't swarm even clipping the queen's wings won't keep them from from swarming over 3 weeks. So in the interests of stirring up a bit of debate here's my suggestion:

If you have to go on holiday for 3 weeks in the swarming season and can't find someone else to look after them, and taking them on holiday with you is not practical (some hotels are very touchy about pets in the rooms), put a queen excluder under the brood chamber for the period you are away. This will be regarded as a barbarous practice by some but for 3 weeks the colony will most certainly survive. Before putting the QX on check for any queen cells and probably also worth removing any drone brood. You will still get drones trapped in the brood chamber but they will do no harm.

When you get back remove the QX and I would do a quick inspection to see what if anything has happened - (though I can see an argument for leaving them alone, minus QX for a week).

There are several different things while you were away which might have happened and to avoid writing a book about it I would just say remove any queen cells of any description you find and then continue routine inspections.

You may end up with supercedure, a new queen, or the old queen remaining, whatever happens you won't lose your bees.
I have to admit I would do the same thing Rooftops if I was away for 3 weeks at that time of year.

I know of a beek who keep's a QE on all swarm season even whith a weekly inspection,Not my idea of beekeeping but who am I to tell him what he should be doing.
He just brushes the dead Drones off the excluder during inspections.
We are planning a 3 week holiday to Europe Will end of April be a bit late for the first inspection of the hives?

It is better to ask some one take care of your hives: add room and perhaps stop swarming.
Lol anyone living near Peters get some bait hives ready for when he is away on his hols. :cheers2:
Just make sure you give them some room before you go away. I normally spend most of my holidays worrying about my bees.:cheers2:
Thanks for your replies.

We actually discussed early May but I managed to get it pulled forward to April as I assume May is even swarmier.

I am planning to split the stronger colony this coming year so can I do this before I go?
I will throw this in the pot as she who must be holidayed has looked askance at my protestations about winter hols and anyway to be honest when working our hours we do need to get away so..........

Remove q and make up small nuc. Feed them and fo get them.

Excluder over entrance and remember to remove on return. should leave you with one surviving virgin very keen to fly and a non swarmed unit. Plus a nuc.


split the colony......can I do this before I go?

You might be lucky but it is weather, weather, weather.

I doubt it. Cumbria, first week in April. Might not be any drones around by the time they are needed if the winter is a long one, even! Who can tell.

I would suggest you watch the spring build up and make a decision much closer to the time. Given plenty of space and possible removal of brood, to your weaker colony, will be all that is needed. There are other alternatives.

Regards, RAB

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