January 2020

26th January 2020
AHAT Conference
Yesterday was a most informative day. I was at the AHAT Conference at Bridgwater. It was very well attended and there were a lot of good ideas and suggestions for further action. There was a lot of disquiet about the number of kill traps we are using because of the number of friendly insects being killed. This is something I will be writing an article on shortly.

We were advised as to what the role of the Asian Hornet Coordinator should do and in the light of this I have updated the flow chart which describes the role.

21st January 2020
Gosh Another Sunny Day
Busy day yesterday sitting on a train for much of it admiring the Dorset, Wiltshire and Somerset scenery. With such a glorious day one could think that spring is just around the corner – but it isn’t yet. Do do make certain your bees have enough fondant or stores and that the woodpeckers are not trying to get in there.

For those with the time and preferably a Senior Rail Card I highly recommend a day trip by train to Bath from Dorchester. Just £13 each for a day in Bath.

What is more while I was there I bought a copy of Buzz by Thor Hanson which is subtitled “The Nature and Necessity of Bees”. I started to read this on the way home and it was well worth buying. In The Works it is currently on sale for just £3.00 and you can see reviews about it on Amazon. I will let you know how I get on with it but I certainly recommend it from what I have read so far.

17th January 2020
Sunny Day at last
At last a day when I can get out and have a look at the hives. As I approached I was pleased to say that all hives were standing and looked to be in good condition. As I got closer I could see that all hives showed signs of activity as bees were coming and going – I assume on cleansing flights. The air temperature was far too low to do anything serious in the hives so all I did was lift of each roof and check the state of the fondant blocks on top of the crown board. Most of the hives had bees on the fondant blocks but in one of them there was no sign of the bees. The reason was that there was an almost empty super between the bees and the crown board. Bit of rearrangement and the food was where the bees could reach it and the empty super is now above the crown board.

I noticed that there were bees in a group half way up the outside of the hive. This was because the crown board has warped. A bit of gaffer tape will solve the problem for now but it will require more attention later.

On Thursday night we had a committee meeting and as a result I have added some more dates to the Dates for Your Diary.

The Skep making day on 1st February is full but if you are still interested we will have a waiting list so it is still worth asking..

15th January 2020
And yet another Windy Day
Windy again! It is a good idea to put straps on your bee hives. That way if they are knocked over by the wind or whatever they are more likely to survive. Straps can be got from places like Screwfix
Being an indoors day I have added a page on hive structure for beginners.
I have also updated the Asian Hornet page so we can speed up response times.
Also I received this link about Asian Hornets in your shed. It does not apply just to Jersey but to us as well.
If you want to read more about the Asian Hornet in depth then the CABI site has a useful page.
You missed a good social last night. There were about 15 of us there including several new beekeepers. Conversation covered numerous topics from swarm prevention to varroa control and the damage goats can do to a hive. Each time I go I learn something else about bee keeping. The next social is Thursday 13th February.

14th January 2020
Another Windy Day
Another violent storm sweeping across the area. Apart from going out to check that the hives are still upright it is a day to stop in and watch videos about bees. I recommend these two Ted talks:
A close up of a developing bee and its Varroa visitor.
A talk on the importance of bees.

And also a reminder that on 15th January was our social evening at the Colliton Club at 19:00 in the back bar.

10th January 2020
Siting the Apairy
Glorious day today and so before I go for a walk I thought I would put a page together on where to site the apiary. Putting an apiary where it is best for you and the bees is a difficult decision and may take some finding. Well a day like today is a good one for investigating proper sites so for questions you should be asking yourself look here.

9th January 2020
For Beginners and others
One of my aims this year is to encourage more people to keep bees. I have just read Professor Dave Goulson’s report on declining insect numbers. It is well worth reading and one of the things I can do to halt the decline is to keep bees and if I can encourage others to do the same then so much better.
As part of my aim to encourage others to keep bees I will be writing a series of pages to help aspiring beekeepers. The first page is here and hopefully you will be inspired to read more as I add them.

I made a mistake on a recent post and gave wrong date for the next social. It is on Wednesday January 15th at the Colliton Club – back bar. We hope to see you there.

4th January 2020
Asian Hornet
As we gear up to defend ourselves against the Asian Hornet I have put together a page showing what happens when I get a call that someone thinks they have seen an Asian Hornet. Needless to say it is an ideal scenario – but it is a start. See what you think. It is here.
2nd January 2020
Too cold to go to the apiary. I did an inspection recently and there are food stores, the hives are all upright and the woodpeckers have not been there.
So I have been working on my knowledge of bees and websites.
One of the most interesting videos I have seen has been that by Martin Hocking regarding his experiences when he discovered the Asian Hornet in his apiary. It is available on You Tube and well worth watching.
I have also added a couple of pages of links to our web site. Amongst them are some real gems of information. For example there is an interactive pollen identification page.

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