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This Month in the Apiary

 

February in the Apiary 

 

This winter has again been different and few of our Bees appear not to have clustered. Though it’s nice to have the warmer winter the Bees have been continuously active which could mean they are getting through their winter stores, so we will all need to keep an eye out for early feeding. It’s always worth remembering that the winter bees are the longest living and therefore at this time of year they are, in Bee terms, elderly and no pension to look forward too!! 

On occasional warmer sunny days some bees will decide to have a cleansing flight and even forage for early pollen. This is a good sign that all is well. This month the queen begins to lay eggs and hence pollen is needed for workers to produce food for the developing larvae. They of course feed them by secreting food from glands that are in their heads.

 

It’s the time of year when we need to get ready for an active beekeeping season. Old brood frames should be changed on a regular basis. Old black comb can support disease and of course the cells get smaller as cocoon skins are left behind resulting in smaller bees. We normally change out two frames a year and it is useful to mark the year on the top of the frame.

 

So now is also the time to make up those new frames ready for when you undertake your first inspection. Your old frames can be used for this, as long as they have come from disease free hives, they just need to be cleaned in hot water and soda. It’s also useful to have some spare equipment and now is the time to prepare it. A spare floor is very useful should you need to change it out. Next go through any hive parts that have been put aside for repair and fix them. Use a blowtorch on floors and boxes to ensure there are no pathogens lurking, paying particular attention to corners and joints. Finally make sure your supers are ready to go, it’s easy to get caught out. We have had many a beekeeper at the shop urgently purchasing a super.

 

Well this month I will be:

 

Checking the hives for woodpecker damage. Are the mouse guards still on and not blocked.

 

Heft the hives and feed if in doubt. A small feed of Ambrosia bee syrup can save that valuable Colony, but remember to only disturb the hive on a mild weather day.

 

Speak to you soon and good luck, remember we are always available at the shop to talk BEES!!!!

 

Good Luck, and look out for the March chat.  

 
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