Monday 24 April 2017

Newsletter April 2017

Dear Beekeeper
Last month we had around 80 members & friends to our meeting addressed by Derek & Elaine Mitchell on the topic of hives & heat loss. Great to see visitors from other associations!
He is the scientist, she the beekeeper. An afternoon of concentration followed with many graphs, but his message was clear, bees need insulation all year round to efficiently maintain their ideal temperatures. He showed his hives made from thick Recticel insulation board, solid floors, which colonies inhabited all year, cooling as required in the summer.
The infra red pictures of winter heat loss from Nationals & polys showed their inefficiencies. 
Warm & humid conditions are best for honey bee eggs & larvae. If relative humidity is over 80% varroa mites cannot breed! He looked for conditions as like a hollow tree as possible.
Search for this address for more information on this:
I hope everyone has cleaned up their hives & checked thoroughly for the presence of the Q, brood, larvae & eggs. Also look for how much stores the colony has. Nectar is coming in fast from rape fields & you need ample room for the bees to store & process it down to below 20% water.
Weekly inspections are needed now. 
Several reports have come in about Q cells developing, the season is early due to the warm spell of weather. 
I had 2 weekends away, so left my bees for 12 days, found sealed Q cells on return. Fortunately the Q was still there so swarm control was possible: 
She was removed with the frame she was on, a frame of food & one of brood + 2 frames of foundation in a nuc box to home. The bees were released at dusk & are now being fed with syrup. 
Hopefully the open Q cell left in the original colony will develop in time to head them up in a couple of weeks. Another day would have seen them swarm, causing nuisance & loss of 50% of my honey gatherers!
Old, dirty or damaged frames should be moved to the back of the colonies to be replaced, 3 a season is a minimum. If they contain brood, move just a step backwards, but never split the brood nest.
Here you can download a hive record sheet which you can adapt to your needs.
Once you have more than one colony it is so easy to muddle them up! I know.
Members: Please let me know if you are looking for bees to populate your hives this Spring or to get started.

Apiary Management:
As you may know Dick Bunting and Pete Crow have taken over management of the Association apiary. 
Dick tells me say they are planning “Apiary Wednesdays”, when all members are welcome to come along at 18.30 each Wednesday evening to carry out hive inspections and other work that needs to be done, like artificial swarms, making up nucs, scraping and scorching hive parts, frame making and the like. This, they think, will be useful for beginners and less experienced beekeepers.
It will also be an opportunity to talk through problems with others, and generally socialise. Hopefully if we get a good mix of experience and newer beekeepers we will make light work of things.
The usual rules re clean beesuits and wellies will apply.
Leather gloves are discouraged, but if you must wear them they should be covered with Nitriles.
Dick will say more on this at the April meeting.
In the meantime we have a new Poly hive, and also a Langstroth with plastic foundation so that members can see these in use and consider if they might want to consider them. Our thanks are due to Patrick Murfet at Bee Equipment Ltd who supplied it free of charge. 
This month’s meeting  

  • Saturday 29th April at the DDBKA out apiary at Eythorne Court, Shepherdswell Road, Eythorne CT14 4AD 2:30 p.m. It is along the Shepherdswell Road, near Eythorne as you head towards Shepherdswell, on the left, near a black wooden building. We park in the next field. If you are a new member or visitor, please make yourself known, we get busy!
  • Mary will work with beginners, & other pairs will demonstrate at the club’s hives, the year has started early, but the progress of colonies can be followed each month & compared with your own. Bring clean suits, wellies & rubber gloves. We have suits to borrow for beginners & observers.
  • Return your Library books & choose another (members only!)
  • Tea [£1] and raffle as usual. Bring your own mugs!
I hope you will be able to come along & that the weather is fine.
Best wishes.