By Bernard Preston

I’ve had a swarm for a month or so. I had an established swarm inserted.

by Rob

This hive can be dangerous; be careful.

This hive can be dangerous; be careful.

Hello and greetings. Firstly I have to make a confession. I rushed into beekeeping. I already had a hive so I bought a swarm and placed it in my back yard near the veggie garden and have been watching them for about a month now. They are the African variety. 🙄I would like to know, what is my next step?

At this stage it is just the brood box. I would like to add the queen excluder and super. What time of day should I open the hive to inspect and what should I be looking for? Other than YouTubing and reading I have absolutely no experience at all. Any pointers would be wonderful.

Hello Rob,
Apologies, I've been away.

Wonderful to have joined the beekeeping fraternity; it's a warm and friendly group of people who will fall over backwards to help you get started.

This is one way to meet folk, but perhaps even better would be to join the KZN beefarmers' association. It is centred in the Midlands which is a hike for you, but there are meetings all around KZN.

Contact Phil Walker:

The chief flow in KZN is from eucaplypts which will probably start flowering quite soon in your area. Start opening your hive in the late afternoon every two or three weeks, warn the neighbours, and keep your own family and animals at bay. Our local bee can be very stroppy, and even dangerous.

Don't add the super until you are sure the flow has started and you can see increased numbers of bees flying in and out, and honey and pollen in the outer frames. In fact until at least 8 frames have been drawn and are being worked.

If the bees cover all ten frames in the broodchamber right now, then you can add the super immediately. Most folk don't use excluders, but you can if you want to. Good management of the brood - you'll learn at the courses - means the queen doesn't go much up into the supers.

Depending on where you live, in town?, then it's good to have at least 2 or 3 hives. Buy only hive parts that have been hot dipped in waxol; they have a brown colour.

The most important lesson to learn up front is that bees can be dangerous, always have a smoker burning, don't open them in the heat of the day, and make sure you are well covered up.

It's a wonderful hobby; you'll add gradually to your hives and equipment, no need to rush in and spend large amounts.

Look forward to meeting you.

Bernie (my penname, actually Barrie Lewis, Hilton)

More than welcome to ask any questions.


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56 Groenekloof Rd,

Hilton, KZN

South Africa


What's this site about?

Bernard Preston books

A family affair by Bernard Preston comes after the trilogy that starts with Frog in my Throat.

Consulting a chiropractor

Femoral nerve AP Xray from one of Bernard Preston's books.

Bernie's healthy choice foods

Cooking green beans Bernard Preston passion

Bernie's bread

Bread machine loaf by Bernard Preston

Bernie's garden

green beans and granadillas Bernard Preston

Bernie's bees

Bees workforce in Bernard Preston's garden

Bernie's chickens

Chickens for free range eggs.

Bernie's solar

Residential solar panels at Bernard Preston's home

Bernie's rainwater harvest

Harvesting rainwater to a reservoir in the garden means a steady supply that is unpolluted by environmental toxins.