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”.
If you missed the Big Bee Rescue with Jimmy Doherty then I suggest you catch up with it. It was on Channel 4 on Saturday night but is now available on the Channel 4 app. Last night’s episode was the first of two and it will certainly be interesting to see how successful the experiment is.
For those inspired to start keeping bees or for those wanting to expand their colonies there is an excellent opportunity to purchase some equipment an very reasonable prices. It is being sold by Andy as he is moving to France. he suspects the bees would take one look at a British National Hive and say a definite “Non”. For this reason he is selling his equipment ready to start again in France. For more details go to our For Sale page.
Been a busy few weeks but I have added the August tasks. In summary August tasks include:
Get extraction kit out of the cupboard.
Get the honey out of the supers.
Decide on Varroa treatment.
Take precautions to prevent robbing – from wasps!
Check for Nosema.
So far this year has been quiet as regards the Asian Hornet but that does not mean we do not have a problem. If there are any Asian Hornets around now then they are from established nests and it is even more important that we find the nests and have them destroyed.
At this time of year we may well be in the hedges picking blackberries and next month we may be picking sloes. Our experience so far has led us to assume that the secondary nests of the Asian Hornet are some 10 metres up the tree – but there are exceptions. Keep your eyes open when picking fruit and if you see an Asian Hornet get a photograph – preferably on the Asian Hornet App on your phone – and report it. Whatever you do you must not annoy it. That can alert a nest full of Asian Hornets and the consequences can be serious.
This week 13th to 19th July is “Bees’ Need” Week. As bee keepers we are well aware of the problems that bees face, be they honey bees or bumble bees or any other sort of bees. The web site is well worth reading and if there is anybody you can pass it on to then so much the better.
Amongst items that are on the page are details of a FIT count. Sounds interesting. I had never heard of it and found that it is a “Flower-Insect Timed Count”. It involves watching a particular plant and counting the number of pollinators that visit. This may seem a trivial task but unless we know how we are influencing the natural environment we will never know whether we are doing the right thing.
Talking of the natural environment I was on the South Dorset Ridgeway when I saw the larva of a hawk Moth moving very fast along the path. On closer examination I saw that is was being carried by an ichneumon wasp and more specifically a Callajoppa exaltatoria. Now I am no expert on these creatures, in fact I cannot even pronounce their names, but there is an excellent guide here at the Natural History Museum. Just search for ichneumon wasps.
I have received details of an interesting site which contains a lot of useful information. It is an Australian site so there are differences between bees here and there – apart from the fact it is their winter at the moment. Nevertheless it is well worth a read.