We had a great talk from Michael Cooper, seasonal bee inspector, last month. He had an informal style, but got his messages across with force:
- wash your bee suits regularly,
- use rubber gloves,
- scrub tools with a soda solution between each hive,
- keep the apiary clean.
But don’t panic, diseases seem rarer, healthy brood is what we should be most familiar with.
The season has got off to a bad start for me, I have lost 3 colonies, two of my own and one belonging to the Association. This is due to starvation, they were fed candy and I was too slow replenishing it. They were alive in January, but did not see March.
It is a bitter lesson to learn and my experience should not have let it happen.
I have heard reports of similar losses in London, but hope that most of you have got surviving, healthy colonies, starting to build up in numbers.
Feeding now should be with weak syrup [1 pint water to 1 pound white sugar]. This gives the bees immediate easy access and will stimulate the queen to lay.
The weather is not helping much! Still chilly and windy, with a distinct lack of sunshine.
A reminder that if you need to buy sugar for spring feeding, by far the cheapest way is to use your BBKA membership card at Booker cash & carry, there is a deal for beekeepers, just show your membership card before you start shopping and they issue a temporary card to use on the day.
Thank you to all who have paid their subscriptions for 2011, we now have 62 members registered with BBKA.