Observations from beekeepers and Bee Inspectors across the UK suggest that some colonies of bees are becoming short of food.
Please monitor your colonies throughout the coming months and feed as required to ensure your bees do not starve. A standard full size British National colony needs between 20-25 kg (40lbs) of stores to successfully overwinter. If they need feeding at this time then fondant should be used. This should be placed above the brood nest so that the bees are able to access it easily.
For further information, please see the ‘Best Practice Guidance No. 7 – Feeding Bees Sugar’ on the following BeeBase Page: http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/index.cfm?pageid=167 It has also been observed that Varroa levels in some hives are starting to increase again.
This may be due to a number of factors, but the exceptionally mild weather this autumn has encouraged some colonies to produce more brood than usual which has allowed an increase in mite reproduction.
Stafford Bee Group offers a programme of lectures on beekeeping as well as other related subjects.
To find out what’s going on, head over to the new Stafford Bee Group website: staffordbeegroup.org to see more information and register for future events.
The next lecture is on 7th January 2021 at 7:30pm:
The Importance of Apiary Hygiene
Clive Stewart has been keeping bees for twenty years and currently manages over 40 colonies throughout Staffordshire. Clive provides a honeybee removal service, and regularly advises authorities throughout the UK on honeybee removal procedures, as well as providing training in bee and pest removal. Clive will focus on the importance of apiary hygiene to prevent the spread of pests and diseases, and give us some helpful tips.
The apiary is looking neat and tidy again as winter descends on Shugborough and the bees settle in waiting for spring 2021.
Once the season was over with the bees treated and fed it was time to finally catch up with the other jobs that needed doing at the apiaries.
There was the grass and weeds to cut back, the willow to be coppiced, boxes for scorching, good frames to be put back into clean boxes separated with newspaper to prevent wax moth, smokers, queen excluders and crown boards for cleaning and wax to be melted and filtered. So just a couple of jobs to do then!
Late October and over three weekends socially distancing teams of 6 members each made short work of all the cutting, strimming, coppicing, cleaning and tidying.
Howard cut down the willow and a deal was done with the National Trust where we traded willow sticks for heavy duty mowing thanks to Caroline.
Chris and Alan masterminded the whole operation and we now have a tidy apiary indeed, including storage sheds with repaired roofs and floors.
A big thank you to all the club members who volunteered to come along and do the maintenance work, thank you, well done.
During November we usually meet up for a pre Christmas social, either playing skittles or throwing bean bag bees at flower targets while missing the hornets.
But not this year, we had to be happy with a socially distanced Zoom Quiz and very happy we were trying to figure out the answers to a whole pile of interesting questions set by our very own Stuart ably assisted by Dayna complete with her traditional antenna.
The special Lockdown Quiz produced the usual winners and runners up and was enjoyed by all with calls for us to do it again in the future.