Before I put the honey supers into winter storage they are frozen for 48hrs+ to kill disease organisms and pests (such as wax moth); I am lucky to have an old chest freezer- which my wife allows me to use! I began this process tonight putting the first 4 supers in. As i grabbed the handle to shut the lid down a wasp appeared from within the comb, realising the sudden drop in temperature? I shut the lid down quick! After 5 minutes of deliberating I returned and opened the lid- no sign of said wasp- guilty conscience?
It’s rained a lot over the last 2 weeks and really curtailed my colony inspections. I have managed to check all my colonies but at most hives when lifting the roof off I was greeted by “lady” workers bearing their tail ends at me- stings poised! Their way of saying “What do you want? We’re in no mood to be messed around!” Colonies are defensive of their stores this time of year as they “prepare” for winter and no doubt the poor weather has left them a little frustrated and hive bound.
My activities curtailed I recently sought solace in a bottle of wine from my local co-op. My choice was made simple when informed that buying “Banrock Station” supported The Co-operative’s “Plan Bee” campaign.
The Co-operatives “Plan Bee” is a good campaign. Where it does fall down is saying “Take up bee keeping. It’s easier than you think”. Shades of Omlet here!
I also draw question to ” The native black honey bee with its better ability to cope with the British weather”: does the native honey bee still exhist? Does it cope better? Maybe more localised breeding with quality developed stock would serve better.
Tonights’ news showed honey bees bred for good hygiene and grooming traits as a development in the fight against the varroa mite. Maybe a good thing. But at what expense (what traits are lost)? It was “mans” meddling in bee genetics that brought about this crisis – I hope this helps redress the balance.
What I have to say is:
There is more than one size (brood) frame available.
There is more than one winter feed (eg. “Leave some honey on!” or Use Fondant).
Apiguard (Varroa treatment) should be co-ordinated with other local bee keepers.
Smoking bees should be done diligently.
Prophylactic treatments can lead to resistance or immunity.
Those who are in the know will know!!
“We have engaged the wasps!”
Todays inspections , on my return from holiday, were dictated by my earlier concerns. The weather for August looks to be cool and damp (even though we had a reasonable weather on the South coast last week). There appears to have been little income for the bees, indeed stores look slightly diminished, though all seem to have some stores for now.
Any colony with wasps hovering around the entrance (and a few with wasps found within the hive!) had their entrance reduced so as the bees can defend it better. I had already deployed some wasp traps but more will be made this week.