Welcome Back to Mill Lane!
Whether you’ve been lucky enough to get honey this year or not, now is the time to treat your bees for varroa and to start feeding them and letting them start to lay up stores for the winter.
For varroa we recommend ApiGuard: a gel with Thymol (a naturally occurring substance) as its active ingredient. For the ApiGuard to be most effective it needs to be given immediately after the honey harvest while temperatures are relatively high (15°C and above) and while the amount of brood is diminishing leading into Autumn. ApiGuard should never be administered while honey collecting supers are in place to avoid potential taste tainting.
Feeding should generally be undertaken in the evening. Even small spills around a hive can encourage neighbouring bees (or wasps) to rob a hive. By morning, this has probably already been cleaned up by other insects or washed away by rain.
There are ‘invert’ syrups and fondants available on the market now. They are inclined to be quite expensive, but they can be very good if your bees are starving as they can digest them as is. In general, fondant is used from mid-winter to early spring.
However, with budgets being tight, you may well opt for the traditional syrup made at home with pure sugar. If the temperatures are low use the heavier solution 2:1 sugar:water. Many associations buy in bulk for their members and this can make it a little less expensive. If you only have one or two hives, it’s probably just as easy to get a few Kilos of Sugar in your local supermarket. Please please do take care and make sure that the sugar is completely dissolved. Any crystals left may well cause the syrup to recrystallise and this will cause the bees all sorts of digestive problems.
We missed a couple of blog-posts recently because it’s been hectic…..
For one thing we ‘did’ the Tullamore Show. Wow: it’s huge. Something over 500 acres taken over and covered with everything from prize Bulls (a massive range of breeds) to bouncy castles, Farm Machinery and equipment to a Honey Show! I heard on the radio on the way home that they had about 50,000 in attendance. It was great to meet some of you there and get to ‘talk bees’ with loads of people all day long.
The folks from the Offaly Beekeeping Association were very welcoming and supportive of us, and we are looking forward to visiting them for one of their meetings during the winter.
By the way, to other Beekeeping Associations out there: We will be happy to attend one of your meetings with a range of products. Just give us a call and we’ll arrange a time to suit. We also supply Association apiaries at discount as we realise we all need to encourage new beekeepers as much as possible. We’ve done this with a couple of Associations already. If you want to know more, please just call.