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.


It’s Autumn/Winter

No more Weds night meetings now until Spring. The light has beaten us I’m afraid.

We’ll be checking the level of stores in each hive at the October Association meeting next Saturday, and starting to feed to ensure that each hive has enough to get them through until Spring. It’s recommended that each hive has 40 – 45 lbs of stores to get through. There’s plenty of ivy honey coming in, but we’ll feed Ambrosia syrup too, to dilute the ivy a bit as it sets hard on it’s own.

Then we’ll leave them in peace by and large, until it’s time for oxalic acid treatment (ApiBioxal) around the Solstice when the colonies are likely to be broodless. We’ll probably go for sublimation as research by LASI at the University of Sussex indicates that this is the most successful option. The resulting blow to the varroa population gives the bees the best conditions for renewed brood raising as the days start to lengthen again.

We hope to see everyone at the last outdoor meeting on Saturday, our Honey Show at the end of October, and the winter indoor program at Alkham Village Hall. There will be jobs to be done in the Apiary over winter, and no doubt we’ll be asking for your help from time to time through the monthly Newsletter, and at meetings.


Weds 13th September

The Apiguard has done it’s work, and feeding and winter preparations are next.

Peter and Jackie will be at the Apiary on 13th to carry various tasks. Due to the light issues they will be there at 16.00, four o’clock in old money. We realise that this earlier start won’t suit everybody, but if you can get there you’ll be very welcome as usual.

Weds 23rd

Another good turnout. We added the second Apiguard trays, and checked the mite drop on the boards. This varied from a very low 80, to a high of 400, with most around 180 –  200ish, over the two weeks. So in all, not huge levels of infestation.

Clive and Gerry cut the grass, thanks chaps!

No meeting next week, once again we’ll leave the colonies in peace while the Apiguard does it’s work.

Wednesday 23rd August

We’ll meet at 18.30 as usual. So far the forecast is good. We’ll put the second trays of Apiguard in, and check the mite drop from the first.

We’ll have Apiguard for sale, price to members £1.75 per tray. You need two trays per hive. If you haven’t started treatment yet, you really need to soon. Payment in cash is preferred. Philip won’t let me give credit! So if you can’t get to Saturday’s meeting, bring some money tonight!


Going forward

Activity with the hives slows down now. We’ll leave them alone until a fortnight’s time, when we’ll check the mite drop and insert the second Apiguard trays.

Then it’s moving  supers under the broods, checking stores, and feeding if necessary. Mouse guards will need to go on, and woodpecker protection too.

Still plenty to be done though.

Allyn Thomas and Peter Willoughby will be taking on the task of re-felting the shed roof. We also want to install guttering and a water butt or two. Grass needs to be removed from around the shed base to avoid the wood rotting. Help will be needed although it’s unlikely that this will be a Wednesday evening job!  Watch this space for details please.

The grass in the Apiary will need cutting and cuttings tidied away.

The Apiary needs a general spruce up, piles of hive parts at the back gate, and at the side of the shed need sorting through, cleaning and tidying, or disposed of if they’re past it.

Used equipment in the shed will need cleaning up for next season, so we are ready to go with clean floors and brood boxes in spring.  Again, watch this space.