Information from the National Bee Unit.

Food stores
Beekeepers may wish to monitor their colony food levels closely over the next month as in many northern parts of the UK, the weather is still cold and foraging opportunities for large colonies are few and far between. It is important to check and monitor all your colonies feed levels, if you do not wish to open them up, lift below the floor, in turn, on both sides of the hive to see how much it weighs. Where the hive is light, liquid feed should be applied directly above the bees. Remove any supers from above the brood box which are empty or have few bees in them. This will help the bees get to the food quickly; Feed can be sugar and water mixed at 1:1 ratio or one of the proprietary ready mixed syrups available from Beekeeping Equipment Suppliers. More information about mixing up sugar can be found in the Best Practice Guidelines no. 7 http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/index.cfm?pageid=167 Fondant can also be used. Large starving colonies of bees will take 1 gallon (approx. 5 Litres) of syrup very quickly while smaller colonies will take half a gallon (approx. 2.5 Litres). After feeding, heft the hives again and check the weight and if in doubt feed some more in a few days’ time.

Some colonies in northern areas of the UK have low levels of pollen, which is essential for brood production. If this is the case, then some form of pollen patty will need to be given to colonies which should be placed directly above the brood nest, after you have fed any syrup.

Mite levels
Some of you may not have gotten round to treating your colonies with oxalic acid as the weather was so mild in winter. Treatments that were applied in winter may have had lower than normal efficacy due to the presence of brood and therefore beekeepers may want to consider treating colonies again, especially where bees are showing signs of deformed wings. Thymol based products and formic acid pads may be ineffective at the present time as daytime temperatures respectively of 12-15 °C or above are recommended. Neither should MAQS strips be used on smaller colonies.

Therefore contact strips such as Apistan or Bayvarol may be beneficial, these offer a rapid knock down in severely infested colonies. However, resistance to these products has been reported in some areas and therefore colonies will need to be monitored after the treatment and an alternative treatment applied if necessary later in the season.

Alternatively, Apivar & Biowar (Amitraz) are available under the EU Cascade system by using a special import certificate. For more information about this, contact your local vet.

Kind regards,

National Bee Unit.

FB and DWFB Associations newsletter April 2016

Bee Matters – Bees Matter!

FB and DWFB Association newsletter

April 2016

First, our summer programme – print out and pin on your notice board and/or write into your diary. It will also be on the website. You will see that as a general rule FBA meet 2pm on Saturdays and DWF 2pm on Sundays though there are a few joint demos which are the exception to the rule. Beginners are welcome to all meetings of their association except those for Intermediates.

When, 2pm Who Where
Sun 3 April Intermediates Mawcarse
Sat 9 April FBA Balcaskie, spring inspection
Sun 10 April DWF Muirside, spring inspection
Sat 16 April FBA beginners St A Botanics
Sun 17 April DWF beginners Muirside
Sat 23 April Intermediates Mawcarse
Sat 7 May FBA beginners St A Botanics
Sun 8 May DWF beginners Muirside
Sat 14 May FBA Botanics, early swarm prevention
Sun 15 May DWF Muirside, early swarm prevention
Sat 21 May FBA at Fife Show, Cupar
Sun 22 May Intermediates Mawcarse
Sat 28 May FBA + DWF Swarm control demo
Fri-Sat 3-4 June DWF at West Fife Show. Kelty
Fri-Sun 3-5 June All interested at Gardening Scotland, Ingliston
Sat 4 June FBA beginners St A Botanics
Sun 5 June DWF beginners Muirside
Sat 11 June FBA St A Botanics
Sat 12 June DWF Muirside
Mon-Sun 20-26 June Royal Highland Show Ingliston, volunteer stewards needed!
Sat 2 July FBA beginners St A Botanics
Sun 3 July DWF beginners Muirside
Sat 16 July FBA’s 100th b-day event St A Botanics, talk, demo, party – DWF invited!
Sat 23 July FBA + DWF Lethangie, John Hendrie, BBKA president, to take demo.
Sat 30 July FBA beginners St A Botanics, nucs
Sun 31 July DWF beginners Muirside, nucs
Sat 6 August FBA Newton Bank
Sun 7 August DWF Muirside
Sat 13 August DWF and FBA Kinross Agricultural Show
Sun 21 August FBA and DWF beginners Lethangie, winter preparations
Fri-Sun 2-4 September Scottish National Honey Show Camperdown Park, Dundee, honey, wax and baking entries needed, also stewards
Sat 10 Sep SBA Autumn Convention Nairn – see SBA website
Sat-Sun 17-18 September Fife Honey Show Dobbies, Dunfermline, entries and stewards needed
26-30 October National Honey Show Sandown Park

 

Phone numbers: for Muirside John Durkacz 01383 722 186; for Mawcarse and Lethangie Enid Brown, 01582 840 582 or 07763 809 367; for Balcaskie Janice Furness, 01334 880 469 or 07972 325 724; for St Andrews Botanics Enid or Janice; for Newton Bank Martin Kay 01334 828 187 or Enid.

We will email before noon on the demo day if it is cancelled, so keep your eye on your emails if weather looks uncertain.

  

  1. Honorary Life Membership: both DWF and FBA have awarded Iain Steven life membership, in recognition of the many years of service he has put into both associations, as well as being a rock and past president of the SBA. Here is a picture of him receiving the DWF award:

pic 1

  1. Equipment for sale: Alison Stewart, Dorset, 65 Milton Rd, Kirkcaldy, KY1 1TL, 01592 263 409 / 07712 184 745 has some National hives for sale, second hand. Phone if you are interested. And don’t forget each association sells cost price fondant, syrup, foundation, jars etc
  2. PHOTOS. Fife Show: Polly, Norma and Martin on FBA stand …

pic2

… and John and Janice stewarding at the 2015 Fife Honey Show:

pic 3

and Martin at SBA wax day, Newburgh

 pic4

 

…and Polly making up frames:

 pic5

 

  1. East Neuk bumblebee ID training day, Thursday 9 June, at Comielaw Farm, Pittenweem, indoor session in the morning and field exercise in the afternoon, finishing about 3.30pm. Contact Yvonne Stephan (Yvonne.Stephan@rspb.org.uk) if you’d like to book a place.

 

  1. Newspaper articles that caught the editor’s eye:

12 Nov 2015, The Times, Oliver Moody, science correspondent: Stone Age settlers had a taste for honey. Bees are among mankind’s oldest and closest friends, according to a study that has found that ancient farmers were using honey and beeswax at the dawn British agriculture…. Scientists have now found evidence that Stone Age settlements were taking honey out of beehives 9000 years ago, and that bees have been in this country for much longer than was thought … Fragments of Neolithic clay pots found beneath Eton rowing lake had demolished arguments that the Romans had brought honeybees to Britain ….They analysed 6.400 pieces of Stone Age pottery from more than 150 archaeological sites (in Ancient Europe and Turkey) and found that 81 had beeswax residues….

3 February 2016 The Daily Telegraph, Hana Carter:

The honeybee weather forecast. Honeybees may be able to predict the weather to help plan their workday and avoid downpours. The discovery was made …. after attaching radio-frequency identification tags to 300 worker bees. The bees spent more time out of the hive foraging and stopped work later in the afternoon when the following day was a rainy one. They seemed to be responding to changes in humidity, temperature and barometric pressure that precede rainstorms…

  1. There are a few indoor classes still to come:

Thurs 31 March, 7.30pm, beginners class 7, Portmoak

Thurs 7 April, 7.30pm, DWF, talk on dragonflies, Portmoak

Thurs 14 April, 7.30pm, FBA, Dairsie Memorial Hall, Prof. Pat Willmer on Cheats, Chancers and Pollinators

Thurs 21 and 28, beginners classes 8 (diseases) and 9 (making up frames and hives), Portmoak

That’s all for now, hope to see lots of you at the summer events! Janice