Monday, 25 April 2016

Newsletter April 2016

Dear Beekeeper

I hope you enjoyed the talk last month by Chris Mead, full of anecdotes & tips; I especially liked the idea of reducing wax moth problems by installing bat boxes - thinking laterally. He wrote that he was made very welcome at Dover.

APIARY

Many hives have now been opened, one member has 2 lots of laying workers and many of us have found the colonies to be smaller than usual. Mine & those at Eythorne have lots of solid stores. Your queens need room to lay as the weather warms, so you may have to remove some full frames to give her room with new foundation or drawn comb. The solid combs can be used when making nucs or melted down for your own use, though it is hard to know if the stores are from nectar [ivy probably] or from heavy autumn feeding of syrup. The mild winter kept them active & foraging longer.

If not sure, use it for your tea, porridge or baking.

Also old, dirty or damaged frames should be moved to the back of the colonies to be replaced, 3 a season is a minimum. If they contain brood, move just a step backwards, never split the brood nest.

AN INSPECTOR CALLS
Kay Wreford [a Bee Inspector] has contacted some of us to inspect our colonies. This is something to be glad about – an acknowledged bee expert, for free, giving guidance and advice with bee colonies! I wish she had contacted me!

APIARY CHANGES
Eythorne out apiary will undergo a change this year. I have been offered space for my 2 hives near home, so I am moving them & giving up the overall management of our apiary in my 8th year. This leaves an opportunity for a change. If you would be keen to organise the running of the apiary or to take part in a possible rota system for caring for the colonies, speak up at the meeting or email me.

I have been really grateful to the beekeepers that have come along to help & learn over the years, particularly the beginners. I’ll make this year’s help list at the meeting.

BIBBA HUMM Bibba are the Association of Bee breeders, an influential body. They designed the talk & courses with Roger Patterson. They are starting a free e-Newsletter which you can sign up for here http://bibba.com/humm/ Worth a look!

Beehive vandalism
Our member, John Saunders, from Shepherdswell found his 2 hives tipped over, one colony lost & the other in a bad way. This can only be explained as vandalism & you are warned to be vigilant of your hives and those of your friends & colleagues. Keep alert to protect bees at this vulnerable time of the year, John was very angry & upset.

Best wishes
Maggie

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