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John the BeeMan's Blog - December 2014 - BBKA News & Diseases

Apiary Up-Date

I’ve made no inspections during November, although I tidied up my equipment and brushed off the plant debris from the pallets that the hives stand on.   The warm October and early November weather will have encouraged the bees to continue foraging and I am confident that plenty of pollen is now stored, ready for the Spring awakening.

Stored pollen ready for winter/spring
Stored pollen ready for winter/spring

BBKA News – November 2014. Items of interest


There are several articles on the problems with varroa.   Deformed Wing Virus (DWV) is one that we should all be able to identify, but would you know about Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus (CBPV)?   There is a good photo of a bee suffering from CBPV on page 365.   I bet you have noticed some of you bees looking similar to this, you will know what it is!

The message here is that we must all keep the levels of varroa down, otherwise these viruses will kick in.   There is an “Information Sheet” called Integrated Varroa Management (‘Fight the Mite’) on our website and the ‘Managing Varroa’ booklet by the NBU (Fera) should be studied.   There are several options, but the most important part is a really effective treatment during August/early September to ensure healthy bees are bred, ready for the winter.

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WBC Hives

This hive is praised on page 375-7 and I agree to all that is said.   I have 2 WBCs and the colonies overwinter really well in a hive that stays airy and dry.   The only slight complaint is the amount of propolis that is used between supers.

WBC hive being inspected
WBC hive being inspected

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BBKA News – December 2014 (I have only just received this). - Items of interest

Varroa – Again!!

There is always plenty to say about varroa as it is the one of the most influential pests of the colony that we have to combat.


EFB is always a possible problem and this article shows what it is about and where it was found during this year.   Our local inspector, Caroline Washington, is still trying to solve the outbreak around London N2/3 as many of you will have received warning emails that it is within 3 km of your bees.   One important way to keep this at bay is to regularly change the brood frames, best done in the spring.

AFB does not seem to be such a problem.   You must make yourself aware of the telltale signs of both these diseases.

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Honey Survey

Always interesting to compare these with your harvest for 2014.


  • I must order oxalic acid from Thornes, ready to apply around Christmas.
  • Also order frames and foundation for comb changing.
  • I will be checking mite drop for a week before the oxalic treatment and the week after it and will let you know the results.

Don’t forget the bees’ Christmas present of either fondant or candy, just in case they are short of supplies.

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