March 2022 Apiary Notes from Wally Thrale

he main purpose of the notes this month is to promote the Training Day we are running at Houghton Conquest village hall on Saturday 19th March, starting at 10.30am. The day will finish at 3pm with a Q&A session after the last talk where members can pick the brains of the assembled panel.

Note – please bring your own lunch and refreshments to allow speakers etc to concentrate on the talks and running the day.

If you wish to attend please do sign up via Webcollect so that we have a rough idea of numbers. The hall is a reasonable size but we mustn’t exceed the fire safety limit. Or you can drop me an email at to let me know you want to attend.

We have invited Peter Folge, our seasonal bee inspector and a very experienced beekeeper, to talk about the do’s and don’ts of beekeeping. As Peter visits so many beekeepers during the season I’m sure he has seen a wide variety of beekeeping practices which will be interesting to hear about. Hopefully we can then prevent some pitfalls in our beekeeping.

Topics for other speakers are:

Colin Hall on using nucs when carrying out an artificial swarm.

Gill Brewer talking on conventional artificial swarm control – just to remind us how to go about this.

Mike Niemann on raising several nucs from a colony that has good characteristics using its queen cells.

John Macdougall on using mating nuclei and adjusting a refractometer.

Richard Smith & Jenny Tysom demonstrating a wax steamer (the Association has 3 steamers around the county which can be loaned to members).

Richard Smith on wasp precautions. We so often hear of beekeepers losing colonies to wasps in the summer which can be prevented.

Wally Thrale showing a super designed for round sections and how to get the bees to work the super.

Over lunch I hope we can show how to make wax wraps and candle making.

So for March do check colonies have enough stores as some boxes are becoming light, especially National hives. If a colony feels light then feed it some fondant or syrup. As the days are slowly becoming milder bees will accept syrup from now on. Better to be safe than sorry as there are several weeks before we can expect a honey flow.

Also remember to remove the mouse guards during this month. Bees are already bringing in pollen when the weather allows. Colonies are starting to build up now and they need lots of pollen. Mouse guards can knock pollen loads off incoming bees so best to remove them soon.