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Monthly Tasks - May

• In preparation for the summer have spare equipment such as: two or three supers per hive (one could be with foundation); for each pair of hives have a spare brood box with comb, floor and roof, and nucleus box with at least four combs.
• If you have not yet marked the queen do it in May so you can find her if the hive prepares to swarm.
• Find (by asking or reading) how to carry out a Bailey frame change or a Shook Swarm.
• Place a nucleus hive out with at least one drawn frame as a bait hive for swarms. If you notice bees investigating the bait hive check your hives for queen cells as the bees may be looking for a new home prior to swarming.
• Keep ahead of the bee’s requirements for honey storage by placing supers on. As soon as the super placed on in April is half full of bees, put another super on. From then on be guided by the weather, if good, place more supers on when the top super is half filled.
• Find out how to make an artificial swarm. There are many methods so read up in your books and settle on one or two. You may find it useful to print out your preferred method(s) and put in your tool box so that when a swarm control event is needed you have the details of your method immediately to hand. Remember to make sure your bees in both the new and old colonies have sufficient food either from honey stores or syrup.
• If you collect a swarm of unknown origin check it for varroa and if possible hive it away from your apiary. Treat it with half a tray of Apiguard. After two weeks you can bring it back to the apiary.
• Continue to keep records on every hive.
• At the start of the month consider changing the brood chamber for a clean one.
• On inspections clean wax from the excluder, and remove burr comb from the top of the frames.
• As soon as the rape flowers fade take off all sealed honey and extract it immediately, otherwise the honey will go solid.

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