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The Apiary in July

As we move into the month that normally gives us a good nectar flow in our area of operations, it did start to warm up a little and the colonies got busy on the Lime, BlackBerry, Rosebay Willow Herb and Clovers.
But then the weather turned into a “furnace” and dried out all the flowers on the trees and in the fields and hedgerows, putting a complete stop to any July honey.

Colony Bearding in the Heat

I’m afraid the EFB outbreak continues to get worse extending across several adjoining Counties and unfortunately affecting a number of our Membership who have had to have their bees destroyed or ‘Shook Swarm’ treatment to try and eradicate the disease.
Once again we advise if you have any concerns about what should be ‘pearly white’ grubs in your Brood comb, take some pictures and send them to our local Bee Inspector.

Chris using his humane Bee Vac

The wasps have started to become a nuisance around the hives, so especially with your small Nucs or Queen breeding colonies, reduce the entrances and no spilling any sugar syrup, as we have all had to feed them this month.

Vapourer Moth Caterpillar found outside the Hive

When removing the honey crop towards the end of the month again ensure there are no spillages or the other colonies in the Apiary or all the wasps in the area will “pile in” for a feeding frenzy.

I put my Clearer Boards on in the evening with an empty super underneath so the bees have somewhere to go. Always numbering the supers so the original colony gets its’ own supers back (again in the evening) to clean up before I put them into winter storage. This will help to prevent the spread of any diseases.

Nuc Floor showing entrance reduced to one single bee at a time

It is highly unlikely that any of your hives will now be considering swarming so if you find a single Queen cell leave it well alone as they are probably superceding a failing Queen.

The picture below shows  a supercedure cell in a Nuc I produced earlier this month, which has a successful laying Queen (well – what do I know?) but clearly the colony thinks otherwise. Maybe she has not mated properly in all the heat!

I’m just hoping I’ve enough mature Drones in the Apiary to mate with the Virgin Queen and all the Swallows and House Martins have left for Africa before her nuptials with her chosen dozen or so Drone suitors. (It’s all about a good gene pool)

Single Queen Cell in Nuc

Once you have taken off the honey crop and all the supers have been returned, cleaned and removed for storage, it is time to consider what, if any, Varroa treatment you need to consider as the sealed brood (where the little devils breed) will be reduced  or disappears altogether as the Queens pause their laying.

There are many licensed products on the market with the links to ‘YouTube’ showing you how and when to use them and good links on Bee Base on counting Varroa. www.nationalbeeunit.com


As we come towards the end of the month “Heavy Thunderstorms”  are projected for our area, which may result in a short nectar flow as the plants especially BlackBerry are invigorated, but check the weight of your hives – some are very short of stores.

Blackberry flowers causing an insect jam

If in any doubt feed a weak solution of sugar syrup. This will keep the Queen laying and in 21 days time worker bees ready to defend the hive from all intruders throughout the Autumn.

Lavender covered in Bees of every kind
Wildflower Mix
Bees are not the only insects foraging for nectar
Bees need water – here from a wildlife pond

Last but not least – have you thought how (if you need to) you are going to feed your colonies towards the end of next month  Syrup, Ambrosia or Fondant? It is time to start getting prepared and if Fondant is your choice contact John who is doing a bulk order from the Village Bakery.

Next Month – Preparations for the Autumn; Varroa treatment; Feeding; Uniting of colonies and is your Apiary and hives weather proof for the long winter months ahead?

Please get off my flower !

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