Shook Swarming talk, Sunday 14 Feb

 Over recent years, neighbouring association Pinner and Ruislip have developed a strategy that includes regular shook swarming. That is a vigorous transfer of the colony to new frames and foundation each spring, as opposed to the gradual approach of a Bailey comb change or informal rotation of brood frames every 3 or 4 years. It has been recognised for many years that shook swarms have benefits of removing pathogens in the comb; it is one of the treatments available to Bee Inspectors to treat EFB.

Lecture Videos

Nights still long? The National Honey Show has been videoing the main hall lectures for the past few years. Topics range from general interest, such as keeping bees in the US and pollination to fairly technical such as honey bee evolution and pest lifecycles. Well worth checking what's available. Some HBKA members were even caught on camera.

Winter Sugar Feeding

As the days get longer your bees can run out of stored honey, January and the next couple of months are vital times to keep checking, traditionally by lifting one side of the hive a few mm to gauge the weight or "hefting". As brooding increases, the bee colony gets through stores to feed the larvae and keep them warm. Outside, early bulbs like snowdrop and crocus and shrubs like viburnum or mahonia can provide a little pollen but not much nectar. Poor weather means the bees cannot even get to what is available, so consider if you might need to feed sugar.

Api Bioxal varroa treatment

Brian has stocks at the HBKA apiary of the only UK approved oxalic treatment. Oxalic can be used for varroa treatment at other times of year, but is the only realistic choice over winter. Price is competitive with other suppliers and there is no post to pay. Pack size is 35g, which should treat at least 10 hives. If you have fewer hives, making up a pack to share with a neighour would cut the cost. Below are links including manufacturer's leaflets.

Beekeeper's Year

A summary table by Rod Parker has been added of suggested items to check through the year month by month. A description appears in Rod's latest Forager.

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