now most of you will have taken your summer honey crop off your hives. You will
have given the supers back to the colonies so that they can lick out the wet
frames and a couple of days afterwards you will have removed those supers.
records will show the quantity of stores in your brood box and it may be that
you will have to feed so that the colony can gain a bit of weight. However it
is now very important to ascertain the disease status of your colony. This is
because from August winter bees which contain more fat bodies are being raised.
These are the bees that will survive for five months and so they need to be
week I put in my inspection trays in order to count the natural mite drop of
varroa. It is also a good idea to thoroughly examine your colony and shake the
bees off the brood frames and have a good poke about. This will give you an
idea whether you need to do something now. A lot of treatments depend on
temperatures being high enough and you will only have a window through August
and into early September if you do need to treat your bees against the varroa.
are a set of short video clips. I went and helped Mark (one of this year’s
beginners) and we did a full disease inspection of one of his colonies. I hope
this gives you some ideas what you’re looking for.
It is best to put the Queen in a Queen clip before doing these manipulations:
the last few years more and more people have joined our association and there
are now over 200 members. In part the increase has been due to the number
of people successfully completing the beginners course and who have understood
how to overwinter colonies.
there has been a new development because one of our members, John Miller, has
started to do some Queen rearing. As those of you who have been to Norman
Beresford’s talk on Queen rearing and my own talk about the use of apidea
mating hives, Queen rearing is difficult. You need strong colonies, healthy
colonies and time. It is an activity that is difficult to fit around a regular
job! I myself have tried several times and it has never really worked!
did our beginners course only a couple of years ago. From the outset he has
been successful. From a couple of colonies, he soon had 18 and I believe he is
still expanding! However when you have this many colonies it gives you options,
and when you have options it makes it much easier to Queen rear.
accompanied us to France last August and stayed with Christophe Gauthier.
Christophe is a master beekeeper and raises numerous queens every year. John
came back enthused and this year decided he would graft (like Christophe) and
try and get a colony to raise two batches of 20 queen cells (40 Queen cells in
total). He has used a cloake board and I believe combined three colonies in
order to be able to have a strong enough unit to raise the grafts that he gave
them. His partner, Sue, did a lot of the grafting . All is going to plan and
his sealed queen cells are now in an incubator and should be hatching on the
11th of June. This is fantastic. I am in awe that he has achieved this.
As all of you know having virgin queens is only the start of the process. These virgin Queens will need to go into mating hives and if they successfully mate they will have to be introduced to a Queenless nucleus.
the very fact that there are going to be a large number of virgin queens in
cells that can be easily transferred into mating hives is a great start.
John is using an incubator and Queen cell protectors so if all goes to plan
there will be piping virgins emerging soon. And of course John has chosen a
calm colony which is also a good honey gatherer and this is the colony he has
grafted from. This has never happened in the Association to my knowledge. Other
associations in Sussex do not raise Queens in this way. It is going to be so
useful to association members and help those who get themselves into difficulty
over Swarming. I am thrilled and excited that one of our members has got to
this level in his Beekeeping.
of today I can confirm that John’s Queens have hatched. You can see from the
pictures below that the Queens have carefully cut around their cells in order
to get out. John’s pictures are of cells that were in his incubator. My picture
is of one of the queen cells I removed from one of my apidea mating hives.
cells in Queen cell protectors in an incubator. Picture