We’d 18th

We’re on for this evening folks short of a dramatic and unforecast change in the weather. See you 1830. Jackie and I finally got the first inspection done on Saturday last, we have things to do.

As always though, if it’s chucking it down, don’t bother!


Wed 11th April update

We plan to meet this evening. It’s still too cold to open the hives I’m afraid, but there are still things to be done, so we’ll be pleased to see anyone who can turn up!

For those new to beekeeping you’ll be able to see things at first hand, and we’ll be happy to give you an introduction to the hives, and the Apiary.

See you later, 1830 as usual.

2018 Wednesday evening meets

The miserable weather continues, this feels like the longest winter I can remember for some years.

We hope that things will improve soon, we’re desperate to get into our hives to see what is going on. So let’s keep an eye on the forecast for next week, and put WEDNESDAY 11TH APRIL in your diary, for 18.30. Even if it is too cold to get into the hives there will be things we can do of a housekeeping nature.

(As ever though, if it’s chucking it down with rain don’t bother!)

For first time attendees, the Apiary is at Eythorne Court Barn, on Shepherdwell Road, Eythorne. The Brethren Church have kindly given us permission to use the car park at their Meeting House on Wednesdays. Please don’t park on the road, or in front of the houses at Eythorne Court Barn. Having parked up, you will be able to see the hives behind. Come out of the car park, turn right, through the entrance to Eythorne Court, and go immediately right and across the grass to the apiary. Suits are available to borrow for those who haven’t got one of their own yet.

Fingers crossed for decent weather!

March 2018

Pete and I have been continuing to check the hives externally and by hefting, and feeding with fondant if they felt a bit light. All now have fondant on, and are scoffing it eagerly. Wednesday last, 14th, was quite sunny and warm, and bees were flying from all hives, and bringing back pollen. Still not warm enough to open up and inspect. However, given one should never assume that all hives have survived winter before April, things are looking good. (Touch wood, cross fingers, and any other superstition you can think of). We took woodpecker protection and mouseguards off last week, only to be told this week the “beast from the east” is lurking for this weekend. Should not be prolonged though. (Touch wood, cross fingers…)

We plan to refurbish the apiary on 23rd or 24th, with the members who volunteered to help out. All wooden hive stands will be replaced with Thermalite blocks set on slabs. Some will be moved towards the middle to allow more room behind. Hopefully we will no longer see people in front of the hives with their backs covered in bees! We also plan to install a small metal shed for the mower, strimmer, fuel cans and gas canisters. If you want to help out, and haven’t been in touch with us, never mind. I’ll confirm the date on here, and you can just turn up at 10.00 am. I hope to have the adjacent field open for parking.

January update

  • The Apiary is in winter mode, the bees will fly on the odd warm day, and on cold days will be clustered. We’ve not neglected them though! In the week before Christmas Pete and I treated the bees for varroa, by sublimating ApiBioxal, now the only approved form of Oxalic Acid that can legally be used in the UK.
  • Last week we hefted all the hives to check that they had enough stores. All but two seemed fine, and the two that were a bit light were given a fondant feed. We will check on stores regularly now so that no colonies run out, right up until the weather is warmer, and nectar is available again. March is reckoned to be the most dangerous month for our bees. They are increasingly rearing brood again and natural food can be in short supply, and bad weather can stop them flying.
  • We want to have a day or two working in the Apiary, to make new improved hive stands, and generally tidy up ready for the new season. We’ll be asking for volunteers at the January meeting, and setting dates. All help will be gratefully received.
  • Finally, and I’m so chuffed, I got an email from a lady in the USA! Her 11yr old daughter, Peyton Clarkson, is doing a project for her Girl Scouts “bug badge”, and came across the DDBKA web page, and our blog! She tells me she really liked it! Wow! We’ve reached the USA! Peyton has recommended another web page, https://www.alansfactoryoutlet.com/bees-hornets-and-wasps-of-the-world . I had a look and it’s really interesting, and definitely worth a look if your interest goes beyond just our honeybees. Thanks Peyton!


Sunday 30th October

A few of us attended the Apiary this morning, and “put the bees to bed” for winter. Mouseguards were put on and woodpecker protection was added. The wooden Nationals got BEE EQUIPMENT hive wraps which aims to prevent woodpeckers getting a grip, and the Poly and the Top Bar were protected with the traditional wire netting.

We aim to leave them alone now, hefting occasionally until the end of December when we will apply an oxalic acid based treatment for Varroa. Ideally the colonies will be broodless at that time so the mites will be unable to hide in sealed cells. The Oxalic acid should therefore deal the Varroa population a heavy blow.

Thereafter it’s continued checks on stores, and giving them fondant if required until Spring.