7 Sept 2020

Feeding up for winter

Martin Davies

The clusters of flower heads are still tightly sealed in little balls. If the sun comes out they may just burst open and give the Bees a much-needed feed!

In the meantime, I am having to top up feeders to help the bees take on food for their winter stores.

It has been a strange season this year. I have had bees starving in the main summer months due to bad weather, bees have swarmed when not expected and some hives have been very slow to build up.  This week I arrived at the bee garden to find that one of the Hives had made queen cells to produce new queens and had expelled a swarm. The swarm was housed in a Nucleus and on inspection, it appeared to be without a queen. When checking the original hive two new queens emerged so one was left in the hive and one placed in the Nucleus. I just hope there are still enough Drones around for the virgin queens to mate adequately. Most of our hives have already expelled their Drones. We will have to wait to see?

We are still processing the Honey that we managed to take from some of the stronger colonies and hope to be bottling soon. The empty boxes are returned to colonies to clean up and then are taken off and placed in the freezer to eliminate any potential wax moth larvae. These are then placed in a stack, sealed top and bottom, so that they are kept free from pests, and stored outside for the winter ready to be used the following season. All boxes need to be labelled so that we reuse them at the appropriate apiary. Any damaged or old combs have their wax removed, rendered and cleaned. This wax can be reused to make candles and cleaned frames can have new wax sheets fitted and reused again.  So we will have plenty of jobs to get on with during the quieter Winter months.

But for the next few weeks, we still need to help the Bees prepare for winter by feeding and uniting colonies where necessary, to give them the best chance of success next spring.

Lynda Christie

September 4, 2020