Due to the changing situation and updating of advice from the NHS and DOH, MUBKA have sadly but rightly, taken the decision to suspend and postpone all group activities for 2020.
This will currently affect the Theory course/Annual Dinner/Beginers practicals and is to follow current advice to limit social and group contact.
We will update this as required from current advice and wherever possible try to re-schedule.
We are also investigating other ways to present the course and stay in contact via remote or other means.
Today we moved the hive stands from under the trees to nearer the Bee Barn and closer to each other. They will now get more sun, especially early in the morning and hopefully will be more active than they were under the trees. The general temperature of the hives should improve now, summer and winter and I'm more hopeful now of better outcomes and better overwintering. But the bees will let us know in due course.
Whilst we have been doing this we have had 2 maintenance days - Jenni and Trish came to the first and Annie and Karl to the second and Mick of course. All our brood boxes and supers are now ready for the new season, all the feeders are cleaned and ready for action and the Nucs have been prepared too. So when we get started, we should have everything we need. Depending on the strength of the brood, hive by hive, we'd like to create some Nucs for growing on and also prepare some fresh comb for future use. We'll do this either by Bailey frame changes or by using a brood as a super and letting the bees draw the new comb out. Either way it is important to keep the comb fresh as it is less likely to harbour disease.
Any swarms we hive this year will go straight onto new foundation and will be fed after 2 days so they use all the honey they gorged on before swarming to make comb. Again disease prevention.
What the coming week hold out for us is anyone's guess, but one thing is for sure, we can't let leave them alone! Don't think they will be carrying COVID19 though.
Well the Calendar says spring is almost here, but looking out of the window I am not so sure? March can be a crucial month for the bees so keep hefting the hives and make sure they have enough food.
Should feeding be necessary then 500ml of warm syrup (1kg white granulated sugar to litre of water) should be given for 1 week. This may be increased to 1 litre per week as the brood increases.
Have you cleaned all of your supers, brood boxes and frames etc.? If not, now is the time to get to it!! Also check your stands are in good order and re-strengthen where necessary. As the weight of the supers full of honey may cause the stands to collapse.
Read up on the various methods of swarm control, whilst there is no immediate panic, this will help when the time comes to climb up a ladder and collect the little devils. And also make sure you have ordered your jars and labels ready for the harvest which will be here sooner than you think!
Spring is here at Last! More daylight and the temperature is rising? The question is are you ready?
With the temperature at 15 degrees it is time to do the first inspection. Replace any brood frames that have old dark combs making sure they are free from brood and stores. Talking of stores make sure there is enough honey to last until your next inspection. If not feed them with a light syrup (1kg white sugar to 1.25 litres of water).
On the first inspection do not spend too much time looking for the Queen, if you have eggs and brood it is reasonable to assume the queen is present. Instead take more time to check you have a healthy hive with no disease present.
Last but not least!
Have you made your Asian Hornet traps if not “Do it”? We need to keep this one at bay and not let it get a hold in the UK. See the web site for information on how to make a trap.
Good luck and May the bee’s be with you!
Are you ready for taking or collecting a swarm? You must have your hive ready complete with frames and foundation. The bees will not wait for you! If you collect a swarm make sure you put a feed on, it will help you to keep them in the hive.
The nectar flow should now be in full swing so remember the bees need space! So put that super on early and be prepared, it may stop them swarming if they have more space? One important point to remember! If you worked with a brood and a half during the winter, and you have reversed the boxes, it must remain as a brood and a half. If you wish to use this as a super for honey extraction, the foundation must be removed and the frames must be steamed or scorched, and replaced with new foundation. The apiguard will have tainted the frames and foundation making the honey unfit for human consumption.