Apiary meeting Saturday 15th June. One colony was dead, starved, some of our other colonies were very short of stores. The “June gap” plus the poor weather is making this season very poor and attention to saving the bees at the moment is a priority. Most beekeepers have found that the bees are very “grumpy” and smoking the bees makes them worse, there are little stores in the brood box and when smoked they have no nectar/honey to go to.If you need to check your bees for stores its best to use a water/syrup spray to calm the bees down. Try to avoid getting the spray on your gloves as they will be all over them. The unfortunate colony that died had several frames of brood but no stores, the bees managed to keep the queen alive in case conditions improved. The queen was introduced to a queenless nuc. Some full colonies had to be fed as the supers were empty,of course take the supers off first so the stores are near the brood box. It goes without saying feed any nucs.
We had reports that a lot of virgin queens haven’t mated properly, could it be the weather? there seems plenty of drones around. Not the best season, quite a contrast to 2018! fingers crossed it picks up, Paynes have extracted their Rape honey and have put the supers back on in anticipation that conditions improve.
It seems to turn cold every Saturday at the moment, it was certainly too cold for a check on the bees yesterday 4th May. Our new members are not getting hands on experience with the bees at the moment but they know how to make frames and are learning the different sizes of frames to go with different types of hive. We have standard National, Jumbo National (14×12) and Commercial (16×10) hives to show our new members some of the hive types available. It may make apiary logistics challenging but it is a training apiary after all. Luckily the colonies were checked during the week after checking the weather forecast, several colonies needed some swarm control. The bees carry on with swarming preparations even though the temperature fluctuates so much. We had some lovely cakes yesterday too!
The first day of our two Introductory Course was Saturday 6th, it seemed to go very well with 31 attendees, I was worried the room at the Tythe barn Horsham would be too small but it was fine and all went well. The day went well because we had plenty of willing volunteers, it makes all the difference.
Unfortunately the fickle weather let us down for the afternoon at the apiary with 8C and drizzling, despite the weather most stayed well into the afternoon and were not too disappointed that the bees were not touched. There was plenty of tapping with frame making and plenty of smoke around with lighting smokers, also a table with hive parts being explained.
I would like to thank all the helper’s that gave their time to make the day run smoothly.
Let’s hope for better weather for the second day 13th April.
The West Sussex Convention was excellent yesterday. Clive de Bruyn’s two lectures, one on queen rearing and the other one on beekeeping mistakes (more like useful tips) were very well received by all, Dr Martin Bencsik colony activity with accelerometer sensors, may be useful research but won’t change the way we keep bees. Adam Leitch his main lecture was about the study of pollen in honey, I think we all wonder what our bees have been foraging on, Adam’s other lecture was an Asian Hornet update was very informative if not alarming at times with a simulation of where we could be in 10 years if do nothing now.Unfortunately you cannot see all the lectures, the ones I missed were experiments with Skep beekeeping, BBKA exam system, Mead making and Wings, Stings and other things under the microscope. Shame that just a few Central Sussex members went along.
. Here is a photo of Clive de Bruyn with his array of props.
Welcome to the first blog in our news section of our website.
We will keep you up to date with what has been happening at our weekly apiary meetings (starting in April, weather dependant) and at our other meetings and events. Also, any items of interest will appear here too with up to date tips that may help you and your bees.
Our first apiary meeting of the year was on Saturday 12th January the agenda for the morning was to discuss Varroa treatments with an option to use Oxalic acid by vaporizing, cleaning and sterilizing some donated equipment, checking our stock of frames/foundation and the disposable gloves and most importantly to check the bee’s stores.
There was a very good turnout and enjoyed a good chat of course while doing the chores, Dennis came along and talked us through his latest project, which should appear in the next Buzz, he also brought along some of Theresa’s lovely cake!
I have included a photo with some eggs in the cells, just to keep your eyes accustomed to seeing eggs, I thought twice about putting a photo with a queen!
Saturday September 29th meeting was at our member Richard’s yard: it was a lovely dry sunny morning, a bit cool, members started to arrive and it was clear some parking management was needed as he was expecting half a dozen members. Wrong! I didn’t count how many came but a good number didn’t want to miss this great opportunity. A few at a time had a look at his extracting set up, the rest came to the storage barn to play with the wax, Richard donated a huge heavy block of lovely clean wax, I’m afraid I ruined it by attacking it with a hammer, we cleaned some of Elaine’s capping’s and used the large block of wax to mould some figures for the show. We then had refreshments on a large lawn in front of the house in the warm sunshine.
When the extracting tours had finished Richard asked if anyone wanted to see some of his bees. Yes, please! A group started trekking through the woods. I tidied up in the barn, filled my car up with the wax kit and caught up with the group. We kept walking and thought we can’t see any hives, yet, until we came to a lovely, sun-drenched, sheltered clearing in the woods.
Richard told us about his bees and a few stories later, he said: “Do you want to see some more?” Yes, please, and we strolled off through the woods again to another field to see a large row of hives. Some had come back from the New Forest Heather. What a great way to spend a Saturday morning. He had a reminder that his dinner was due, so we thanked him, some purchased some honey. Thank you, Richard, for inviting us.