Just a reminder to everyone in the Association that there is
the National honey show at the end of
October which is held at Sandown Park racecourse in London.
There are a program of lectures and workshops and all you
need to do is google “the National honey
show“ to find out what is on offer. Bookings for workshops start on the 1st
of September and you need to be quick if you want to get the workshop that you
would like to do. If you are interested in soap making Sarah Rob has a workshop
called pampering potions but you definitely need to book that one up on the 1st
of September. There looks to be a good workshop by Phil McAnespie on swarm
control and that will get booked up very quickly.
Apart from the lectures and workshops there is the trade
Hall. Helen and I buy our jars for the next season, frames that we will be able
to make up and there are just thousands of other items that can be picked up at
reasonable prices. For instance I bought a really good 6 frame mating hive with a division board allowing me to raise
two queens. I purchased a sheriff bee suit and that was specially adapted for
me as I have extremely short legs! Measurements were taken at the show.
Beginners who come on Saturday have a program of lectures
specially for them and these are held by master Beekeepers and are always
If you are only intending to go for one day, then Friday is
probably the best day before all the best bargains have disappeared.
I am hoping to be able to enter some of my honey. If you are
thinking of doing so, then perhaps read some of my past articles about
preparing honey for showing. If you are busy and cannot get up to the show then
lectures are recorded and you will be able to listen to them at home on your computer
or iPad. But you won’t get those bargains, of course.
Malcolm Wilkie Aug 20th 2019
At this time of year this is the question that I am most
frequently asked by beginners and by more experienced beekeepers. If you follow
these topical tips that I try and send out regularly, you will realise that
there is often no one straightforward answer. It all depends on how you manage
Leaving a super of honey or taking the supers away from the
bees all depends on how you wish to manage your charges. And I would argue it
all depends on what the level of varroa is in your colonies and how many bees
you have got in those colonies. If you have done as the BBKA recommends you
will already have extracted your honey, and you will have left an inspection
board in for one full week in order to calculate the natural mite drop in your
colony. If your colony is a medium-size one or a small one, then you will have
taken back the super/s after one day once the bees have licked out the honey left
over from your extraction. This is an easy scenario because if you need to
treat for varroa then there will be no supers on the hive and you can use a
thymol product like Apiguard together with an eke and that will clean up the
bees ready to go into winter.
If you have a super full of honey and your varroa drop is
still high then you can always take that super away from the bees, treat, and
then put the super back on them. This will have the added advantage of
encouraging them to put any nectar they collected this time of the year into
the brood box, which is where you want it. However, be careful how that is
stored because wasps and local honeybees can move into your garage or bee shed
if they find that honey! The difficult situation comes when you have an
extremely large colony with three or four supers on them. Removing all those
supers and crowding the bees into the brood box may not be a very intelligent
idea. Crowding bees at any time of the year can encourage swarming!
A large populous colony will no doubt have varroa and that
can be building up at this time of year. They may still be collecting nectar
and making honey and some people will still be able to do an extraction in
early September. The catch 22 is that a lot of the treatments against varroa
mite only properly work when the temperatures are high enough. And so, this
treatment should be carried out now in August. And those treatments cannot be
used if there are supers on the hive.
It is because I often experience the above scenario that I do
not often treat in August but sublimate with oxalic acid in December. I know
our French counter parts would argue that that is not good because it is the
winter bees being made at the moment that are the ones that are going to carry
the colony through the winter. However, I make one proviso. That is that if I
find a huge mite drop at this time of year and distressingly see that there are
a lot of deformed wings, then I will make sure that I treat. That is a good tip
for you all – look now for DWV on your bees. If you see it, alarm bells should
be ringing. And if alarm bells are ringing, do something.
Malcolm Wilkie 17th August 2019