Early Spring Inspection Tip
Have your bees overwintered with 2 brood boxes?
Depending on the part of Gippsland you live in but especially in South Gippsland you won't be able to open your hive between May and late August. Much depends on the temperature since exposing the colony to cold may harm the brood and reduce the strength of the hive coming into the spring honey flow.
In September, when we can get some lovely warm days, it may be possible to open up the hive, best done before midday to give the bees, and the sun, a chance to warm the hive up again prior to nightfall.
Inspect and clean each brood box. If two brood boxes were used over winter now is the time to reverse them, This is done by placing the previous top brood box onto the base. This is done because over winter the colony may have moved to the upper brood box and will not be utilising the full volume of the two brood boxes. By reversing the position of the two brood boxes you will break up the winter cluster, giving plenty of room for the queen to lay her eggs.
This is also a good opportunity to check the strength of the colony, what stores are available and what the bees are bringing into the hive. If you're unsure about what you're looking at you can take pictures of each side of each frame and ask your mentor OR bring them to the Beginner's Corner/Meeting where someone will be able to tell you how your bees are faring.
Excerpts from the Australian Beekeeping Manual by Robert Owen