NLB logo

NORTH LONDON BEEKEEPERS

BBKA logo

John the BeeMan's Blog - late September 2014 - BBKA News – Items of Interest

July 2014 - Wasps, page 223

Although wasps haven’t been a problem this season, it is always a good idea to keep the hive entrance small.   Our previous Regional bee Inspector, Alan Bayham, persuaded me to use restricted entrance blocks throughout the year.   I have been doing this for several years with no adverse effects.   The entrance slot is only about 75mm wide and 5mm high.   The 5mm is adequate for the bees, but is too small for the Asian Hornet.   This entrance does seem small in the heat of the summer, a bit like Piccadilly Circus, but the bees do not seem to mind.

Small entrance used all year

Go to top sign Go to top.

July 2014 - "More Natural" page 237

This is an interesting spin on whether to treat varroa or not!   I normally undertake drone cell culling during April, May & June.   The cut off comb is then offered to the birds, although this usually attracts Magpies, rather than the tits, robins and blackbirds which I would prefer!

Drone brood ready for culling
MAQS strips
Drone brood ready for culling
MAQS strips

The other treatments I use are formic acid MAQS strips in September and Oxalic acid in syrup in December/January.   Varroa must be taken seriously, otherwise the colony will die.

Go to top sign Go to top.

August 2014 - "Water for Bees" page 262

Bees need water to dilute honey before they can consume it.   It’s also used for evaporation, providing a cooling effect within the hive.

In London there is usually plenty of water for the bees to collect.   There are water courses well within range of apiaries, together with clogged up gutters holding wet debris and other damp compost.   If you feel that your bees need water, the best way is to fill a large seed tray (with no drainage holes) with compost and keep it wet at all times.   The last thing you want is open water that the bees can drown in.   I have seen bees drinking on a woodland floor of wet leaf mould litter.

Go to top sign Go to top.

August 2014 - "Food Safety" page 265

Legislation is alarming some beekeepers.   The use of treatments is one aspect, but the hygiene laws for the processing of honey may affect many of us.   Andrew Beer, a beekeeper & lawyer, is to give us a lecture on Wednesday, 8th October to enlighten us on “Beekeeping & the Law”.   I strongly urge you to attend.

Bottling honey – open jars are kept covered to avoid dust
Bottling honey – open jars are kept covered to avoid dust

Go to top sign Go to top.

August 2014 - "Comb can Reveal" page 267

We are always being taught to be familiar with the appearance of healthy brood.   This covers eggs, larva and sealed brood.   If we notice anything different, we should question it and if necessary ask for a second opinion.   The health of your colony could be at risk.

Healthy brood, eggs, larva and sealed
Healthy brood, eggs, larva and sealed
Healthy brood, eggs, larva and sealed

Go to top sign Go to top.

September 2014 - "Overwintering" page 295

Here the author questions the use of second brood boxes or a super added to the main brood chamber and where to put it, under or on top of the main box?   For many years I, and other beekeepers with the 14 x 12 brood boxes, have placed a super with some stores below, serving as a honey store and a buffer between the brood and the mesh floor during the winter.   I haven’t lost a colony during winters for many years when using this method.

Supers under brood box and feeders on, getting ready for the Winter
Supers under brood box and feeders on, getting ready for the Winter

I feel the difference lies in the warmer London weather compared with rural parts of the UK, especially as one goes further North.   We can successfully keep a Nuc going through the winter, whereas the Northerners cannot.

Go to top sign Go to top.

September 2014 - “Microscopy” page 297

I hold the 2 association’s microscopes and use them from time to time.   I often check for the presence of ‘nosema’ and have checked for acarine.   Any member is welcome to ask me for these checks and I am only too pleased to demonstrate how the microscope works.   It can be fascinating, but the identification of pollen is extremely difficult.

Go to top sign Go to top.

September 2014 - “Winter Feeding” page 303

This is a vital aspect for all beekeepers, especially knowing the variety of feeders available which depends on the capacity and convenience.   I have a full range of most of them.   The only type I do not favour is the bucket, which is used on the Kenwood apiary!!   How much sugar syrup is needed at different times of the year is another aspect.

Types of feeder: Ashforth & Miller, English, rapid, frame, bucket/contact, glass jar with lid with punched holes.

See Thorne’s catalogue page 73.

Ashforth bulk feeder (wooden)
English bulk feeder (plastic)
Ashforth bulk feeder (wooden)
English bulk feeder (plastic)

Go to top sign Go to top.

September 2014 - “Drones – What do they do?” page 309

It's fascinating to learn what bees will do naturally.   Are we too mean about the beleaguered drone?

Culled drone brood out for the birds
Wild comb (built in September) Worker cells (central) drone cells (right side)
Culled drone brood out for the birds
Wild comb (built in September)
Worker cells (central), drone cells (right side)

Go to John's Blog main page

Go to top sign Go to top.