With a nice sunny morning here in Norfolk today, it gave me an opportunity to check on my hives. I have been hefting the hives throughout winter and stores seemed to be holding out well. I placed fondant on some hives about Christmas time, so now was the time to check and replace fondant or give fondant to any hives without it.
All my hives seemed very healthy, good clusters and still plenty of honey stores. I had monitored each hive for varroa mite, but have seen very few dead ones on mite boards when placed under the hives. I thought I would treat the hives with Oxalic acid this year to control the mite, but in the end decided not to as I felt it was unnecessary. It seems the Apiguard did its job well in September.
3 of my hives with 1 and 1/2 brood boxes were very strong in the autumn when treating with the apiguard. With apiguard and an eke in place, the bees built up alot of burr comb on top of the frames. This was full of capped honey when I finally closed the hives for winter and so I left eke in place with crown board above. As you will see in picture the burr comb is not very tidy, but still has honey in it. Photo 1
Today I quckly cut out some of the burr comb to fit the fondant over the bee cluster. I know not very attractive, but I didn’t want the hives open for very long to loose the hive temperature. I can clean up this burr comb in the spring, when I remove the fondant packaging.
I have noticed that aconites and crocuses are starting to push through the ground, so these should soon be the first pollen source locally here in West Norfolk. Forecast though is for a cold snap, with cold easterly winds. Whether we will get any snow, we will have to see.
I have seen the bees flying around the entrance on sunny days. I haven’t seen any pollen being brought in yet, so I hope the queen hasn’t started laying. A 2 week cold snap would not be good if there is new brood in the hive. Photo 2
If you are novice beekeeper try and get fondant in place as soon as possible. Open hive, place fondant over cluster and close up. Should take less than 30 seconds. Now til April, is the dangerous time for bees. As the weather warms, the queen will start laying then it can all come to a halt with any cold or wet periods. This is when bees can run out of stores and starve. So keep on eye them and help them though to spring time.
Looking at traffic to my blog, many have found it whilst searching the web for Honey jar labels.
I produce my own labels with my own photographs on, rather than the rather stale labels you generally see offered for sale.
Individual personal labels are not cheap, however the more I can give to a printer the lower the price. The price drops dramatically per label, the more printed.
If anyone is interested in having labels done for 2012. Email me email@example.com
Tell me how many you think you would like.
Once a few people have replied and I know numbers I can then get a quote from the printers. I will let you know what the quote is and if satisfied we can go from here to get some designs printed.
Happy New Year to you all. Sorry have not updated blog recently. Unfortunately my father was taken ill between Christmas and New Year and passed away on the 9th January and today we have the funeral. Sadly missed but he had a great life nearly reaching his 86th birthday.
Not too much to report on the bee front. Have seen bees flying around the entrance of the hives when they have been warmed by the low winter sun. Each hive has fondant in place and next week I will check to see if this needs replacing.
I have booked my stand for the BBKA Spring Convention at the Harper Adams University College, Newport, Shropshire Saturday 21st April 2012. Stand 17
I think will be better than last year, a new venue and all the trade stands will be in one hall, rather than numerous halls as at Stoneleigh. Again I am sharing my stand, as per last year with Tim Jackson ( Honey Frame Packaging )
If you purchased the book – it would be great to meet you and hear how you are getting on. If you haven’t seen the book, it will be an opportunity for you to a flick through a copy.