Sunday, 22 August 2010
Really enjoyed yesterday's hive meeting near Tenbury Wells. Dennis handles his bees with confidence but real gentleness. The theme was Varroa treatment and preparation for winter. The opportunity to chat with experienced beekeepers about things like: how best to protect against wasps, whether to insulate the hive roof, the relative merits of selling honey in one pound or half pound jars, whether to feed between Varroa treatments, priceless.
So today I got on with the vital work without which winter survival, and next year's honey crop would be prejudiced. I took off the remaining comb that the bees had been cleaning for me since the honey was extracted. The pics show the artistry and perfection of the bees' efforts. Then I inserted the trays of Apiguard gell, one per hive, placed directly on top of the brood frames. The gell gives off Thymol fumes and remains in the hive for two weeks. A second treatment is then given for a further two weeks. It needs raised temperatures to evaporate which is why it needs to be put on before the weather cools too much. The downside is that no honey can be taken off once treatment has started. Any that the bees now collect is for winter stores. Its unlikely that they will collect enough on their own so a close eye has to be kept on the volume and sugar syrup will be fed to help them fill their larders. They will get plenty of tlc over the next two months. I shall also be monitoring the "drop" of Varroa mites to keep track of what is going on.