Monday, 20 April 2015

Newsletter April 2014

Dear Beekeeper

Thanks to all of you who came last month to hear Bill Summers talk about his ZEST hive. He is used to scepticism & answered all sensible questions in good part.

In The Apiary
It has been rarely warm enough to open hives for very long, but warming at last. When you begin to look through, any damaged, dirty frames can be moved to the back of the hive to be replaced; if they contain brood, move them in small steps till the brood have emerged. Aim to replace 3 per season.

If stores are low, bees will handle syrup better than fondant now, they need it for immediate use, not for storing. Once supers are on, cease feeding.

The idea of placing a half brood below the super in winter is for the bees to eat it first and then when the rape crop flowers, that box will become your first super above an excluder. Three of mine have cleaned theirs out, the rest are still munching their way through.

You may find that some colonies do not consume their winter stores: take full brood frames as food for the nucs you will be making, don’t block the queen’s laying space with slabs of hard honey.

At Eythorne we have had the problem of 2 colonies with drone layers, one a poor queen, the other laying workers, the latter solved by uniting with a nuc. Study the brood, you need to see lots of worker brood & perhaps a few raised drone cells, not solely drone.

WBC lifts & buckets
Len has obtained some 10 WBC lifts, 2 roofs & 2 floors, 2 brood boxes & a super box surplus to needs. If you are interested, they can be viewed at the apiary, we may auction them on the 25th. Most in need of TLC; some were made in Crawley & are rectangular lifts, not square!
Also 6 buckets with lids.

An evening with Professor Dave Goulson on the 4th July at RSPB Dungeness reserve.
A guided walk by Prof Goulson and Dr Nikki Gammans

Hive Records
A simple record card can be found on our website on the Documents tab; once down loaded it can be adapted to your needs. One card per colony. Everyone needs good records. You think you will remember what you did and what you saw. You won’t! 2 minutes filling in a simple record card can help your beekeeping (especially when you look back and see what the bees did last year).

I know some people dictate to their phones!

BEECRAFT hangout - Wednesday, 15th April at 8.00pm
This month the topic is Swarm Control.

Start looking again for KSRC courses!
Queen rearing, microscopy, bee handling. Some at Chatham Dockyard, others at the Bee Barn, Bridge.
Look on the bookings page: www.ksrcbees.org.uk

Maggie