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Yesterday I have spotted drones in the mating yard. This confirms our intention to start grafting next week For those of you that have bees it means that swarm season has started! I think we are unlikely to get any swarms yet but think some colonies could well be ready to swarm within the next 2 to 3 weeks. I'm basing this on the weather in Yorkshire but do wonder what the warm weather in the South of the UK will be doing. I would not be suprised to hear reports anytime!
Its certainly time to make sure you've given big colonies enough room.
I usually keep the first batch of queens to help build for packages and to assess quality, this allows for sufficient drones and weather for better mating for subsequent grafts.
I'll Keep you posted over how things are progressing over the next few weeks.