FEBRUARY in the Apiary
Days are getting a bit longer, but the cold weather persists, so try to get ahead before the bees do. Collect all your floors, brood boxes, supers, crown boards etc. Scrape the inside of each item clean of brace comb and the worst of the propolis. Using either a gas flame gun or an electric paint stripper, you can now burn the inside of the kit, to melt away any remaining propolis and wax. This job is best done outside for safety.
Frames can be cleaned by cutting out the old foundation, then scraping the worst of the propolis off the frame’s sides, you can then boil them. Put soda crystals in the cold water and then bring to the boil. Swirl the frames in the hot water for a few minutes (wear rubber gloves for this for protection) this will remove any propolis and wax and also sterilise themYou are almost ready for Spring and the honey harvest.
Well the Calendar says spring is almost here, but looking out of the window I am not so sure? March can be a crucial month for the bees so keep hefting the hives and make sure they have enough food.
Should feeding be necessary then 500ml of warm syrup (1kg white granulated sugar to litre of water) should be given for 1 week. This may be increased to 1 litre per week as the brood increases.
Have you cleaned all of your supers, brood boxes and frames etc.? If not, now is the time to get to it!! Also check your stands are in good order and re-strengthen where necessary. As the weight of the supers full of honey may cause the stands to collapse.
Read up on the various methods of swarm control, whilst there is no immediate panic, this will help when the time comes to climb up a ladder and collect the little devils. And also make sure you have ordered your jars and labels ready for the harvest which will be here sooner than you think!
Spring is here at Last! More daylight and the temperature is rising? The question is are you ready?
With the temperature at 15 degrees it is time to do the first inspection. Replace any brood frames that have old dark combs making sure they are free from brood and stores. Talking of stores make sure there is enough honey to last until your next inspection. If not feed them with a light syrup (1kg white sugar to 1.25 litres of water).
On the first inspection do not spend too much time looking for the Queen, if you have eggs and brood it is reasonable to assume the queen is present. Instead take more time to check you have a healthy hive with no disease present.
Last but not least!
Have you made your Asian Hornet traps if not “Do it”? We need to keep this one at bay and not let it get a hold in the UK. See the web site for information on how to make a trap.
Good luck and May the bee’s be with you!
Are you ready for taking or collecting a swarm? You must have your hive ready complete with frames and foundation. The bees will not wait for you! If you collect a swarm make sure you put a feed on, it will help you to keep them in the hive.
The nectar flow should now be in full swing so remember the bees need space! So put that super on early and be prepared, it may stop them swarming if they have more space? One important point to remember! If you worked with a brood and a half during the winter, and you have reversed the boxes, it must remain as a brood and a half. If you wish to use this as a super for honey extraction, the foundation must be removed and the frames must be steamed or scorched, and replaced with new foundation. The apiguard will have tainted the frames and foundation making the honey unfit for human consumption.
Well are you ready for the “June Gap” make sure you keep an eye on your colonies. If you have taken off the spring honey and there are very little stores then it is time to put on alight feed, (in new money this will be 1kg sugar to 1.25 litres of water).
They are saying that the summer harvest is going to be a good one! Be prepared (just like a boy scout) make sure your bees have plenty of room and add another super when the other is half to two thirds capped. Now where do you put the new super that is the question?? Some say you should put it on the top as that way you do not have to keep lifting the full super to check the lighter super, others, say it should be put underneath as bees in a wild nest work downwards. If you ask a room full of beekeepers they will all have a different opinion so do whatever is best for you!
Make sure the bees have space to store the nectar be prepared and put on a new super before they have run out of space!
If you need to extract honey don’t forget the association has three extractors available you just need to check availability and book.
Jars and Foundation can be bought at a discounted price from Alison Ayling.
Last but not least make a note in your diary for the honey show; it is a must for all beekeepers so plan your entries...remember 1lb Jars only for the shows!
Well did you make the Asian hornet trap? If not “get to it” the bees need your help to protect them.
Go to it! And may the nectar flow for you!