Saturday, 26 September 2009

Treatment number 2

The good Septembr weather is continuing, and I am taking advantage of it to do one more inspection of the hive. It is also time for the second and final treatment with another Apiguard.

Over the last 2 weeks I had a total varroa drop of 90. This gives an average varroa drop of about 6.4 per day, which is not bad I suppose. When I open the hive today the bees are calm and going about their business. On close inspection I found that the number has definitely grew. Leaving it alone for quite a number of weeks has helped. nearly all the frame, apart from three, are full of honey, and there are some signs of sealed brood cells, which means the queen is about and still laying.

In today's newspaper there is an item of the dreaded Asian honet. It would seems that the French is having a bad time of it. Needless to say we are thinking of when rather then if the little beasts will jump the Channel and get over here. I suppose we shall worry about that when it happens. 'Experts' reckon we have 10 years to get use to the idea. You can read about it here:

Last week I bought some honey from a local beekeeper whoes bees are a mere one mile away. The honey is good so I am hoping that it's an indication what mine will be like. Can't wait.

Monday, 21 September 2009

They drop like...Varroas

Autumn is easing itself into our days. Since my last post I have checked my hive for Varroa drops. It'd shot up to 50 over a 6 day period. The counts before, over the similar period, was in low single figures. Clearly the hive has more of the natsy little mites then I though.

The Apigurad treatment is half way through its course. After this week I shall leave it for two weeks and do the same things one final time for another two week period. It would be interested to see what the drops will be. I want this hive to do well over winter. I may treat Varroa using sugar powder next year. The main problem with this non-chemical treatment (which I like) is that I am not sure now effective it is. I am getting mixed advice about this. Of course I want to go non-chemical, but I also want to be sure whatever method I use does the job. So far the Apiguard is working well - if the drop is anything to go by.

As always the September weather is strangely warm with occasional heavy rain. When the sun is out, like today, the bees are busy foraging. I can see many are still bringing in pollens. I am beginnig to feel that I should give the hive one more inspection just to be sure they are ok inside. The last time I look they had two empty frames in the brood box. The colony has not make enough honey so I am looking to increase my sugar bill this winter: sweet dreams.

Friday, 11 September 2009

This is an Eke

What, you may asked, is an eke? Today I install one in my hive. It's basically a square wooden frame- I made mine yesterday. The purpose of the eke is to create a space, above the brood box, into which you can place an Apiguard which is for treating the colony for the dreaded varroa. I am more or less leaving the hive alone at the moment though I am not quite sure if I should inspect it again before the air turns really cold.

We are now in the middle of September as usual we are having all kind of weather: last week it was cold and couldy last week, but this week we are having an Indian summer. Since I was told that Apigurad works best when the air temperature is 15 degree C or above I thought it's time I decide whether I will treat the bees or not. After much though I decided to do so because as one experienced fellow beekeeper pointed out should the number of varroa increases over winter (it's a really possibility) the colony will get really stressed out. Once agian keeping bees is rather like having children- sometime your are damn if you do and damn if you don't. In any case I though I should at lease treat the hive this season and see how things go. My main concern is that the colony should survive this winter, and be in good condition when next spring comes.

While cleaning the hive today I got some honey on my hive tool. We have a tiny little taste and it's good. Well for this season at least all the honey ( about 4 frames) are going to the hard working colony. We shall see what next years brings. My fingers are firmly crossed.