This is the quiet time of year for the bees and Beekeepers. After a warm start to the month the cold frosts of winter arrived in the last week or so with hurricane force winds around just to keep us all on our toes.
All we can do now is hope that all our preparation has equipped the colonies to settle down in their tight knit clusters and wait until the weather improves.
As the harder frosts arrive and the Green Woodpecker cannot ground-feed, I put a roll of chicken wire around my hives to prevent them attempting to feast on my bees. The mess they can make of cedar or Polystyrene hives has to be seen to be believed.
The last couple of years have seen bad floods in our area and when you are securing hives it is a good idea to plan ahead just in case you have to move your Apiary to higher ground.
When checking my Apiary to put wire around each hive, I noticed one hive with a pool of water on top of the roof, clearly warped in the heat of the summer.
This was solved by putting two old tiles under the front legs of the hive stand causing the water to run off the back of the hive and away.
Keep an eye on the slides under the Varroa floor and keep them clear of debris. This will help keep vermin away and give you a chance to see what is falling through the mesh from the cluster. I keep my Varroa slide in all winter checking them every couple of weeks.
The Queens will stop laying if we have an extended cold spell and 21 days later your colony will be clear of any sealed brood which of course is a good time to treat for Varroa if your Autumn treatment was insufficient.
In the winter we can treat colonies by either a “Trickle” method or “Gas ’em” with licensed products, both of which kill the live Varroa mites riding around and feeding off the backs of the worker bees.
I will explain this in more detail Next Month, but keep an eye out on the number of mites falling onto your floor slides so you can plan ahead and purchase any necessary treatment.
Flowers still in bloom in November:
Nothing to do with Beekeeping but just showing that the season is passing as winter creeps in on us all: