I started beekeeping with a single swarm and started this season with two strong hives, but, my long term goal is to manage between six and eight hives over two apiaries. This is enough to provide a challenging hobby but not so much effort as to make it a second job.

One of the most important lessons learnt from my beeking mistakes is to have a plan for the season ahead and prepare for it. In past I’ve be caught unprepared, having to build or order kit quickly to catch up. It simply made life more difficult than it needed to be and when keeping bees the easier you make it – the better.

This year I knew I wanted to double my hives so I actually got organised – which I have to admit shocked me quite a bit.  I built, painted three hives, made up the frames and painted my poly nucs; all by the end of April.

My preparation has paid off because in England we had a delightfully warm spring which has prompted an explosion of activity by the bees and May has been a time for seemingly endless swarms. It wasn’t long before charged queen cups were in both my hives.

I have ..erm… rather enthusiastically marked my  Queens from last year which they may not have enjoyed but it does mean you can spot them from orbit. I moved them into two of my trusty poly nucs and left one queen cell up in each of the old hives. fingers crossed the girls should raise two fresh new queens in a few weeks.

I’ll be honest swarm control is still somewhat of a mystery to me and although I have the whole split thing down I’m not sure moving a laying queen into a nuc and waiting for my production hives to make a new queen is the best approach to maximizing my honey yeild? More research is required on my part on  this topic.

The rules of our association apiary stipulate a two hive per. member maximum, so now I’m on my way to four hives I need to find a new site to place them.

But I have a plan….