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John the BeeMan's Blog - September 2015 - Planning for varroa treatment

Apiary Up-date

I hadn’t checked any brood for 4 weeks, so I spent some time going through all colonies to examine the brood frames for any possible disease.   I also assessed the stores to make sure each hive had enough to take it through to the end of September.   I found no sign of any unusual larva, it all looked normal and healthy.   One colony was short of stores and I will have to keep a check on it.   Plenty of orange pollen was being stored and according to my chart it is probably coming from Michaelmas Daisies.

During my checks, I opened the problem colony and my uniting 5 weeks ago has done the trick and the bees behaved wonderfully.   It was such a relief after the fights I had had!

A good frame of sealed brood
Healthy brood
A good frame of sealed brood
Healthy brood
Pollen storage

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Two Queens in one brood box!

One of my Cemetery colonies has the original and the superseded queens laying at opposite sides of the brood box with 2 frames of stores between them.   I’m wondering how long it will be before they meet up and decide who should stay?

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Honey harvest

I’ve now extracted all this season’s honey, totalling 250 pounds, plus 67 pieces of cut comb (approximately 30 pounds).   Half of the initial extraction is starting to granulate, although it clears easily when warmed.   However one of my tanks was left too long and the honey would not flow.   I transferred it to a steel tank which allowed me to warm it with 4 night lights (see photo below), this did the trick, although some was slow going!

Night lights under honey tank
Jars filled and weighed
Night lights under honey tank
Jars filled and weighed
Boxed
Washed up
Boxed
Washed up

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Planning for Varroa Treatment

My choice is to use MAQS again this year and I will take heed from the National Bee Unit regards its application (see below).   I consider that the main advantages are:

  • The treatment takes only one week
  • It can be used even when the honey is on
  • The fumes penetrate the capping over the sealed brood

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National Bee Unit

I attended an Associations’ Forum, organised for the South East region and of the talks should be interesting to all beekeepers this August and September.   This is a 10 point list of advice regards varroa treatment, given by Julian Parker, the Regional Bee Inspector for the National Bee Unit:

  1. If you use any thymol treatment such as ‘apiguard’, it should be applied early in August, due to the need for average temperatures of 15 degrees C to be effective.
  2. Even if you cannot see any evidence of “Deformed Wing Virus”, you must still treat your bees.
  3. Mites are resistant to Pyrethroid treatments such as ‘Bayvarol’ or ‘Apistan’, even if it is a long time since you used it.   Therefore, it is not recommended as it will only add to the resistance and not be fully effective.
  4. Always keep a detailed record of the treatments you use, the type and dates etc.
  5. If you use ‘Amitray’ bought via Ved Med Cascade, carefully follow the procedures.
  6. Do not use ‘Amitray’ every year as the mites can become resistant.
  7. If you use ‘MAQS’ formic acid strips, follow the instructions (fully described on the web site); 2 strips are suitable for a full sized colony.   If the colony is half size, use only 1 strip and pro rata for other sizes.   You can cut a strip in half.   Do not ‘overdose’ your bees, as this could damage or even kill them.
  8. Do not be tempted to use any unauthorised/alternative treatments.
  9. Winter treatment with oxalic acid in sugar syrup should be ready made.   ‘Api-Bioxal’ is about to be authorised and should be used.   Do not try to make up your own solution.
  10. Do not use oxalic acid fumigation (vapourisation) for your own safety.   Only specialist protective face masks should be used.

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September Forage

Ivy will be out very soon, as will Michaelmas Daisies.   Honeydew is sometimes collected in late summer, early autumn and tends to be dark in colour.   In Mediterranean countries you will find Pine honey for sale, this is, in fact, honeydew and tastes lovely.


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