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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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