Well it has been a funny old year – in the meaning of peculiar rather than hilarious. There are reports of increased honey yields from some and from others there are reports of reduced honey yields.
In an attempt to get a fuller picture based on facts rather than hearsay the BBKA is conducting a survey on honey yields. The survey is available from this link. it is available from now to the 25th October. Do respond. It also asks a couple of questions on training requirements. If you are still extracting then you still have a month to do the survey.
This is the time of year when we are attempting to minimise the number of varroa in our colonies so as to give the bees a better chance over the winter. It was because of this that I have been reading the Varroa booklet from the NBU.
The booklet is important but quite hard work. So after ploughing through that I went to a video by Dr Samuel Ramsey which he gave to the Institute of Northern Ireland Beekeepers at their Honey Show. I suspect I learned more from that video about Varroa than I did from all my reading.
For example – look at the bee above. When you open the hive if you see that you know you have a varroa problem. If you do not see that then do you have a varroa problem? Well the answer is in the video. It turns out that varroa prefer to hide under the bee where they can get better access to the Fat Bodies. It truly is a fascinating video.
Not only is the video highly informative but it is also highly entertaining. He is an excellent speaker and I recommend you watch the video so that you better understand the reason that varroa is such a problem. If you are also inspired to read his research papers on varroa as well as on other subjects then he has a website which is worth exploring.
Well the honey is collected, put into jars and sold and you have a pocket full of cash. Well it would be in a perfect world but whether you have a pocket full of cash or not it is time to renew your membership of the Dorchester and Weymouth Beekeepers Association.
The form is here from where it can be easily downloaded and processed. For those who prefer pdf format that is available here.
For those who are hesitant about joining I should point out that membership comes with benefits including membership of the BBKA and the monthly magazine. In addition there is the Bee Disease Insurance. Like all insurance this is something you hope you never need but if you ever do need it you will pleased you took it.
Membership renewals are due by the beginning of October so as soon as you read this I suggest you renew.
If you are in Dorchester then why not visit the Maiden Castle Sunflower Trail. Details and booking can be done through their web site.
The Sunflower Trail is in full flower and will be open daily until they start to wilt in two or three weeks. It opens daily at 12.00pm and the last booking time is 6.00pm. Bookings are recommended though not essential. maidencastlefarm.co.uk Drinks/snacks are available or there is plenty of room for people to bring their own picnic.
Having spent a pleasant afternoon there today it was good to see how many honey bees were there. There are also many bumble bees and I saw at least three different species.
As bee keepers it is now required of us to report varroa in our apiary. Normally this will be done through your details on Beebase. At the moment it is not there as there is no need to report varroa until April 21st. A fuller article has been placed on the Dorset Bee Keepers‘ web site.