October 2020 Apiary Notes

Now we are into October the weather has turned more autumnal although the bees are working the ivy during sunny spells. In fact some hives are working as if there is summer flow so they have a super to collect this last bout of activity. The presence of a super prevents the brood nest from becoming congested with stores and allows the queen to continue laying, albeit at a lesser rate.

Feeding should be about finished by now. Bees are reluctant to take stores down If the weather turns cold so, if some colonies need topping up it is better to do it sooner rather than later.

If your varroa treatment was Apistan or Apivar make sure the strips are removed after the treatment time – leaving them in all winter provides a lower level of dosage which can then lead to some mites developing resistance to the product. So to ensure these treatments remain effective for future years we need to take them from the hive soon.

The next job on my list before winter is to place mouseguards over entrances although I normally wait for the first frost before doing so. Mouseguards can knock off pollen loads from incoming foragers and pollen is vital for colonies while brood is being produced. Do tap the brood box before putting mouseguards in place – otherwise you could be trapping mice in the hive for winter!

The last job before winter is to wrap hives with wire netting to prevent woodpeckers damaging brood boxes. I am in the process of moving netting to apiary sites in readiness for this tedious job. If the winter is mild we can get away without nets but if there is a cold snap woodpeckers can do a lot of damage in a short time. Trying to put netting in place in bad weather is not high on my list ‘nice’ jobs so I prefer to do it in benign conditions. That way I know colonies are pretty safe until springtime.

Finally, just to let you know about the Facebook chat group set up by Steve Gale earlier in the year. This group is private, i.e. only available to Beds BKA members – the public cannot access it. You can apply to join the Chat Page group here.

This Facebook group is not run by the Association but by members. Anyone can post items of interest on there, for example ask a question about processing wax, anyone have some spare MAQS pads?, photos of what went well (or not). Topical items, e.g. I posted photos the other day of feed buckets washed in a Burco. Just a prompt to show what is happening around now.

One member posted recently that although he has been a member for over 30 years, as he lives on the edge of the county he does not often attend Association events. He said ‘I feel I am part of Beds BKA now that I can post items and see what others are saying’.

If you would like to join the group please contact Steve and, as long as you are a member, he will add you to the group.