Wednesday Sessions

That’s it folks! For 2018. Wednesday Sessions are over for the year, and I’m off on my hols!

The bees are now tucked up for winter, first Apiguard is on, and inspections are all but over.

We’ll put the second Apiguard on in a couple of weeks, check their stores and if necessary feed, possibly at the September meeting.

Then it’s winter wraps (against woodpeckers) and mouseguards, and leave them alone until the solstice when we’ll treat again, with ApiBioxal this time. (Oxalic acid in an expensive disguise!)

Thanks to all who supported the Wednesday Sessions, you’re a great bunch! Hope to see some of all when we start up again in Spring, and at our monthly meetings. Don’t forget our annual show at Shepherdswell last Saturday in October.




We have decided, due to light issues, to move this meeting forward to 1700 hrs. (5pm in old money)


Weds 25th July

1830 again this week. It is forecast to be very hot, so evening seems the better option. I recommend you bring water to drink, as we have none on site.

We plan to inspect all the hives, as that didn’t get done at the weekend. Too busy with extraction. We’re past swarm season now ( I hope ), laying is slowing down, so that shouldn’t be a problem ( again, I hope !). Attendances have been great the last few weeks so we’ll split into smaller groups and get the job done a bit quicker.

An interesting snippet from the extraction at the weekend. When we took the first supers off a few weeks ago, Jackie and Eric kindly took some each to extract and jar as my back was playing silly b******s at the time. Eric got in touch to tell me the honey he had extracted from the Langstroth hive wouldn’t go through his fine filter. My immediate thought was that it was granulating, so I took the bucket as it was and put it in my warming cabinet ( 40c for 24hrs ). I then put it, and the other supers I’d extracted together for filtering and jarring. Lo and behold, I got down to Eric’s batch, and it wouldn’t go through my filter! There was no granulation, the honey was jelly- like, i.e. thixotropic, almost like Heather honey, and warming had had no effect. By stirring each lot as it went in the sieve it eventually went through. After a bit of research, and some help from the BBKA Facebook page, I discovered that some garden flowers produce a similar effect as Ling ( Heather, Calluna ) and Manuka, but not so pronounced. Erica (heath ), and raspberries are the prime suspects from Eythorne, and also Leptospermum if anyone has planted it. Luckily it wasn’t full on like heather honey, or Eric wouldn’t have got it out of the frames with a rotary extractor! You live and learn!

See you tomorrow evening.

Weds 18th July

18.30 today! Hope no one turned up at 1430!

Feels thundery. We were planning to take some supers off, let’s play that by ear!

As always though, if it’s pouring down, don’t come!

Apart from stealing the bees honey, we plan to do a Varroa assay on the poly hive. If you were there last week you’ll remember there was a fair bit of bald brood in that colony. This can be a sign of a heavy Varroa infestation. Counting mites on the Varroa insert is a guide, but not a reliable one. We plan to do an “icing sugar roll”. Bees are shaken in a jar with powdered sugar ( not commercial icing sugar, which contains anti caking ingredients ). Sugar and mites fall through a grid, bees are returned to the hive. Water is added to the jar, sugar dissolved, and mites are visible. This gives a much more reliable idea of the scale of infestation, and whether or not we need to treat.

See you later.


Weds 11 July, continued.

20180711_163430A very good session! I was a bit concerned that folk wouldn’t turn up as it was an afternoon session, but in fact we had some of the evening gang, and some others too. We welcomed two Thanet Beekeepers. In addition, our youngest attendee, Isaac Hawkes ( 6 1/2 ) came along, accompanied by his mum Charlie. Charlie reports that he thoroughly enjoyed his introduction to bees.

Having two experienced beekeepers, Maggie and Clive with us, we carried out a full disease inspection on the colonies. Bees were shaken off the brood combs and larvae were thoroughly examined. The bees were checked for DWV. Pleased to report no problems were found.

It was notable that the temper of the bees was appreciably better than during evening inspections, no surprise really when you think about it.

We would welcome opinion on having more afternoon sessions. So many evening ones had to be cancelled earlier in the year (I hesitate to call it Spring), and in at least some cases an afternoon might have been feasible. I do appreciate that this could be difficult for some with work commitments. Let us know please if you have strong feelings either way.

Above photo is Isaac, with a model bee he made from a piece of wax he was given. Nice one Isaac, good job!


Weds July 11th

Meeting will be at 1430 this Wednesday. This is due to an expected lack of interest in an evening meeting ( including the Management! )  due to a World Cup semi final featuring England! 

We intend to do disease inspections on some of the hives this week. Some, which are requeening we will leave to get on with it.

My own colonies are piling the honey in Chartham Hatch at the moment. Let’s see if the DDBKA bees are doing likewise.

Wed 20th June

Looks like summer is arriving at last! Fingers crossed.

We have a few jobs to do, concerned with checking if bees are raising new Queens. I had a good go through the hives last Saturday. I put a comb of eggs and brood in the Langstroth, and also pinched a QC from Hive 4 and put that into Hive 1. We need to check the Langstroth therefore to check for QC s, and if there are any, reduce them to one.

I’d also like to check H1 to see what they have done with the sealed cell, or if the Queen has emerged and been accepted. Not always successful.

Hive 5 had QC s from the frame of brood given last week, and I reduced that to one. It is a weak colony however and might be better off in a nuc.

Hive 2 we won’t touch. I checked yesterday on QC s I found on Saturday, and reduced to one. Both yesterday and Saturday they were evil, and I received multiple stings! Hopefully they’ll raise a Q and calm down!

See you later.