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Beekeepers Blog - July & August 2023

Beekeepers Blog - July & August 2023

The July & August edition of our 2023 blog. Written by the beekeepers here at Thornes.

You may have noticed we didn’t have a bee blog last month – we have just been too busy with the bees to stop and consider what we have achieved the last couple of months! As we are slowly starting to wind down now (a scary thought for the end of August), we have a little more time to reflect on our beekeeping antics.

After all the nucs had been taken off, the weather seemed to take a turn for the worse and we experienced weeks of bad weather here in Lincolnshire, as many other parts of the country did too. This meant that the bees could not get out to forage on what little food there was available at the time and so we ended up feeding quite a bit of fondant to tie them over. We decided to go with fondant at this point because we knew that wasp season was just around the corner and syrup can get very messy, attracting hundreds of wasps and robbing bees into the apiaries.

Once the rain had subsided somewhat and the sun finally came back out, the weeds went wild! We had quite the job to keep the hive entrances free from grass and other plants, simply because it was all just growing so quickly. Time for the strimmer to come out! The bees do not like this, however, we feel it is important, not just to look tidy but for the bees’ welfare. Long grass blocking entrances can slow foraging bees down and overgrown weeds can encourage damp conditions in the hive leading to problems such as chalkbrood. It is also much easier to walk around the hives when the area is strimmed back!

With the perhaps slightly earlier than anticipated Asian hornet incursion this year, we thought it would be a good idea to set up some new traps around the apiaries. In previous years the traps have felt somewhat precautionary, whereas this year we will be monitoring them very closely as the threat of the Asian hornet travelling up the country from the south coast now feels very real. You can see here that we have hung this one in a laurel bush, just to the edge of our lakes apiary and we have filled it with the attractant and some weak sugar syrup. Fingers crossed we don’t find anything untoward, however it is best to be prepared.

As we are not producing honey, after the bees have been taken off the hives for nucs, we have no reason not to treat for varroa at this time. We have no supers so there is no risk to anyone’s health and so this year we have treated with ApiLife Var.

 

Blog July & August

Blog July & August

 

We find this time of year to be of exponential growth in varroa numbers and so it is a good time for us to knock them back, especially as bees that will go into winter will be ‘made’ soon. ApiLife Var is a thymol treatment and as such is temperature dependant, normally most effective over 15 degrees. Very simply, one stick of ApiLife Var is split into four pieces, placed on each corner on top of the brood frames and left for a week. Repeat this for four weeks in total, using 4 sticks in total (2 yellow packs). Hopefully this will reduce the amount of varroa in the colonies so that the bees going into winter have the best chance to be as healthy as they can. 

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