So many talks

This year has been disappointing in that we have not been able to get to things like the Bee Safari and visit other apiaries but as this post will hopefully show there is a lot going on. Thanks to the virus many organisations have set up lectures which we can attend remotely and enjoy.

First amongst my list of possibilities is a set of lectures at the beekeeping.events website. These are actually hosted by BIBBA. I am not going to list all the lectures but this subset may stimulate your interest. In fact there are so my lectures I have just grabbed the first few:

  • Bees and queens for everyone
  • The roles of Winter and Summer bees
  • Attracting Native Bees and Butterflies
  • My Life as a Manuka Honey Farmer
  • Friday Evening Informal Bee Chats
  • HBA web-vention
  • Oil Seed rape Blessing or Curse?

If you want to see recordings of previous lectures they are on the BIBBA website.

November is here

Where has the year gone? Just two months to the end of the year and it seems to have just flown by. However for the bees there is still plenty to do and I have written a set of tasks which need to be done. Perhaps this year is a good time to do more of the tasks than last year. When I am working in the apiary there is no talk of the virus threat or of Brexit. Such a relief.

As I write this we are about to go into another lock down. May I draw your attention to the NBU advice for what we can do in the next month? For those who do not wish to read it all I can summarise it with “Hands, face, space” and remind you that we have a duty to look after “livestock” and that may require travelling to an out apiary.

On a more positive note – if you have more time on your hands as a result of the lock down then use the opportunity to read more about bees. There are some suggestions on the November tasks page.

September is here.

September is here and the bees are getting ready for winter. It is our job to get help them and I have written a page of tasks which can be done this month to increase the chances of your bees surviving the winter but also of being in a good position to make a rapid start on Honey production once the new season arrives.

After a long day at a public event a bee keeper was clearly tired of explaining what bees do and how important they are. When asked why they made wax he informed the wide eyed child that “inside the hive it was dark and the bees used the wax to make candles so they could find their honey stores”.

Don’t forget Jimmy Doherty’s Big Bee Rescue on Channel 4. If you do not see it live then it is on My4

Beekeeping kit for sale.

April 13th 2020

With the current “lockdown” here in the UK there is time to take stock.  Perhaps now is the time to consider secondhand beekeeping kit.

Do you have secondhand beekeeping kit for sale? or is there secondhand beekeeping kit you wish to purchase? Is there kit you could be cleaning?

Why not check your stores and see if you have any beekeeping kit for sale. Perhaps you have a spare super you no longer need but could be repaired. Such a piece of kit may be ideal for a beginner. I know that in my shed I have several plastic queen excluders and a spare smoker – none of which will ever be used again by me but are perfectly suitable for a beginner.

What should I not sell?

Well I would like to say you can sell anything that is bee related. That is not the case. When it comes to beekeeping kit for sale there are things you do not sell – and if you find someone selling such kit then walk away.

The things I am talking about are anything that has been in close contact with the bees and could be carrying diseases which cannot be removed. For example – used frames.  It is possible to sterilise frames but is is worth the risk of even handling them? Imagine you collect some used frames and bring them home. Did you observe strict biosecurity en route? Did you put  the frames in the boot of the car. Next week when you go to the apiary I exepct  you will put you beesuit into the same car – you get my drift.

Thus do not buy used frames or used wax foundation. It is not worth the risk.

What could I buy?

If it has not been too close to the bees or if it can be sterilised then you can buy it safely – but…

Buying a hive

If you buy a hive then first make certain it is the design you want. I have heard of several cases of hives sold as “Nationals” which are not. They look like a National at first glance but careful measurement shows they are not. For a list of all the common hive sizes have a look here and for frames sizes look here. If in doubt take along an empty super frame and an empty brood frame – do they fit?

Having decided that it is what you want then my advice is to bag it up in bin bags or rubble bags before transporting it. Hopefully you are not taking it to your apiary but to a place where you can clean it with a minimum risk of contamination.

Hive tools

Make certain that hive tools are scraped clean. If necessary they can then be placed in a hot solution of washing soda. Take care – washing soda can be nasty stuff and I always use eye protection and gloves.

Buying a smoker

This has not been in close contact with the bees but still care must be taken. Clean of the outside and then have a go at the inside – scrape the soot of the inside of the spout.

Plastic Components

These can be scraped clean and then sterilised in a suitable solution as described on the Apiary Hygiene page.

Bee Suits

These can be a serious source of contamination. If the hood can be removed then they are bound for the washing machine. If the hood cannot be removed then best wash them by hand. I have heard of people who place the hood into a pillowcase and wash the whole bee suit  in the machine.

So what now?

On this site we have pages for Equipment Wanted and Equipment for Sale. With the lockdown as it is this is not the best time to be driving around to buy equipment – even if you do  consider it essential.

However this is a good time to be preparing you surplus equipment for sale and also a time to check your stocks and see what equipment you might require later in the year. It is also a good time to be cleaning equipment so look here.