17/08/2019  Apiary Blog UpdateThe summer has gone well, the trainees have had lots to do and have covered most of the usual beekeeping procedures, hiving swarms, artificial swarming, brood amalgamating, brood equalising, sharing queens, queen cells and raising new queens through emergency cells, as well as feeding cleaning, hive maintenance and occasional pint lifting!

We are not completely over, as there is still winterising to do and we'll be calling back the beginners for varroa treatment, feeding, general winterising and preparing the equipment for next season. This will be one Saturday in the next month or two and will be open to the Branch members as well.

We have taken off a few pounds of honey - probably around 50 so that will go towards defraying our expenses. All those who attended have done some honey extraction and filtering, but no jarring up, labelling or selling. Perhaps we should also run a marketing course!

From the 24 we started out with we have about 10 good quality beekeepers whom we hope will go on to having their own hives and becoming long term beekeepers and regular contributors to the Branch and our activities.  The drop off from 24 to 10 is fairly normal, but we'd still like to understand if there is anything that we are doing that would be better if we changed our approach?

So as we come towards the end of the season, all is not over! There is still the Honey Show to come to  and see the different honeys that the branch members have collected and presented. MUBK runs one of the best honey shows in Worcestershire with a significant entry level. After this we have the Memorial Lecture, an Apiary Maintenance day a Branch activity that many members attend, and in the New Year our Annual Dinner. 

I have made some good friends in MUBK and I'd like to thank all the mentors who have turned out week after week to help with the new trainees and pass on their wealth of knowledge. Without them the training program would not be the same. And also my thanks for the help and support through the winter in preparing for this spring, you know who you are and your help has been greatly appreciated.

Due to the changing situation and updating of advice from the NHS and DOH, MUBKA have sadly but rightly, taken the decision to suspend and postpone all group activities for 2020. 

This will currently affect the Theory course/Annual Dinner/Beginers practicals and is to follow current advice to limit social and group contact.

We will update this as required from current advice and wherever possible try to re-schedule.

We are also investigating other ways to present the course and stay in contact via remote or other means.

Today we moved the hive stands from under the trees to nearer the Bee Barn and closer to each other. They will now get more sun, especially early in the morning and hopefully will be more active than they were under the trees. The general temperature of the hives should improve now, summer and winter and I'm more hopeful now of better outcomes and better overwintering. But the bees will let us know in due course.

Whilst we have been doing this we have had 2 maintenance days - Jenni and Trish came to the first and Annie and Karl to the second and Mick of course. All our brood boxes and supers are now ready for the new season, all the feeders are cleaned and ready for action and the Nucs have been prepared too. So when we get started, we should have everything we need. Depending on the strength of the brood, hive by hive, we'd like to create some Nucs for growing on and also prepare some fresh comb for future use. We'll do this either by Bailey frame changes or by using a brood as a super and letting the bees draw the new comb out. Either way it is important to keep the comb fresh as it is less likely to harbour disease.
Any swarms we hive this year will go straight onto new foundation and will be fed after 2 days so they use all the honey they gorged on before swarming to make comb. Again disease prevention.

What the coming week hold out for us is anyone's guess, but one thing is for sure, we can't let leave them alone! Don't think they will be carrying COVID19 though.

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