Lost and found

It was the Welsh Beekeepers’ Convention last weekend . This is a convention I’ve previously enjoyed attending. I remember strolling through the daffodil-filled Builth Wells Showground in lovely spring sunshine to visit the trade show. And I remember staggering back to the car, laden with items that were: too inexpensive (not cheap … there’s a difference 😉 […]

Queens and amitraz residues in wax

A question following a recent evening talk to a beekeeping association prompted me to look back at the literature on amitraz and wax residues. The question was about reuse of honey supers that were present on a colony during miticide treatment. With the exception of MAQS, there are no approved miticides that should be used […]

Late season miscellany

I was struggling for a title for the post this week. It’s really just a rambling discourse on a variety of different and loosely related, or unrelated, topics. Something for everyone perhaps? Or nothing for anyone? Beekeeping myths – ‘bees don’t store fondant’ I only feed fondant in the autumn. I discussed how and why […]

Long distance beekeeping

This post was originally entitled ‘lockdown beekeeping’. I changed it in the hope that, at some point in the future, we’ve all forgotten lockdown and are back to the ‘old normal‘. Instead, long distance beekeeping, better summarises the topic and might rank better in future Google searches … But before I start, here’s some general […]

A June Gap

As far as the beekeeping season is concerned, we’ve had the starter and we’re now waiting for the main course.  Like restaurants, the size of the ‘starter’ depends upon your location. If you live in an area with lots of oil seed rape (OSR) and other early nectar, the spring honey crop might account for the […]

The million drones fiasco

Accidents happen. Sometimes they are due to stupidity, sometimes to forgetfulness, or sometimes they are just the result of plain dumb luck. They’re also often caused or at least exacerbated by ‘local’ factors – like a rainstorm or a cancelled train preventing timely inspections.  Or a countrywide lockdown necessitated by a global viral pandemic. With […]

The nucleus option

The definition of the word nucleus is “the central and most important part of an object, movement, or group, forming the basis for its activity and growth”. Therefore a nucleus colony of honey bees is something smaller than a full colony, but that has inherent capability to grow into a full and active colony. A nucleus colony […]

Swarm prevention

Swarm prevention is an important component of early season colony management. There are a number of drivers of swarming – ageing queens, overcrowding, the age-old urge to reproduce – some of which can be effectively ‘managed’ by the beekeeper, so delaying (or even preventing) the need for swarm control. It might even prevent you from having to climb a wobbly ladder to recover a swarm from the top of your neighbour’s apple tree. Time spent on swarm prevention is time well spent.

Time to deploy!

It is time to deploy bait hives to attract lost swarms. They are easy and inexpensive to setup and provide a valuable service by capturing lost swarms. Current social distancing regulations preclude effective mentoring, meaning it is likely more queen cells will be missed and more swarms will be lost. Potential future restrictions could significantly impact beekeeping, so bait hives deployed now might be useful for several months. Be prepared … an entirely appropriate phrase as you’re trying to attract the scout bees.

Bees in the time of corona

We are living in interesting times. The coronavirus pandemic has, in the space of a week, dramatically changed the structure and interactions of society. What impact will the coronavirus pandemic have on beekeeping? It depends upon your experience and preparation. Social distancing will impact mentoring, sales and – if extended to lockdowns – access to your colonies. If you are just beginning you will probably have to do without a mentor. You may struggle to source colonies for sale if imports are restricted for any reason. However, there are likely to be more swarms and deploying bait hives might stop the bees bothering other people. Although there are lots of certainties in the beekeeping season – mites, swarms, honey – this year looks like being very uncertain and very unusual.