“Bees’ Needs” Week

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.

Ichneumon Wasp (Callajoppa exaltatoria) with Hawk Moth Larva
Callajoppa exaltatoria with HawkMoth Larva

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.

New month – new tasks

New month and therefore new tasks and for this I have added a page for July tasks in the apiary. Bear in mind that the bees do not check the calendar and therefore they do not know it is now July and you may find that tasks for June still apply. It is not likely that the bees will swarm this month but it is something we should be aware of even though I have not included it in the July tasks.

I am preparing some more pages of information so keep coming back as I introduce more pages.

New Training Material

OK so the wet day puzzle was a bit of fun but today back to more serious business. The links below are some useful links to new training material.

The NBU has been unable to carry out any Bee Health Day training, evening Association talks or attend any national events due to COVID restrictions.

To part mitigate this, Fera Science have prepared several You Tube training/educational videos, which are now available via BeeBase and are freely available to beekeepers and Associations.  Initially three of these have been released looking at the following topics:
Asian Hornet Biology
Asian Hornet Genetics
European foulbrood

The presentations can be found on BeeBases pages on
Asian hornet

The information can also be accessed on BeeBase news page.

Alternatively there is a link at the foot of the Advisory Leaflets, Training Manuals & Factsheets page.

There is also available  a series of on-line evening lectures throughout the rest of the beekeeping season, starting on 9th June. Topics are chosen to fit with the work in the apiary, aiming to be timely and thought-provoking to inspire all those ‘thinking beekeepers’ out there.

Ken and Dan Basterfield regularly give popular lectures on practical and thought-provoking beekeeping topics. They lecture across the UK and Ireland, from local association meetings to national and international conferences.”

The full programme and booking links can be found here.

The forecast for this week is for thundery showers, some of which could be torrential.  If there was thunder in the air would you want someone to take the roof of your house! I guess not and bees are the same. They can become very aggressive if you try to open the hive in thundery weather. Don’t.

Wet Day Fun

In case you have forgotten this is the knot used to join the binding material used when making a skep. Press "New Game" and see if you can get the knot back to how it should be. Page refresh will set the picture right again.

Hive Lures

With so much swarming going on it would be nice if you could set up one of your empty hives as a bait hive. Hopefully the next time you visit the apiary the previously empty hive would be fully populated.

On Ebay, under the category “Beekeeping -used items”, there is some dark brood comb for sale as a potential lure. The price of the frames does make it feasible to use them as a lure.

Advice from those who are experts on apiary hygiene is do not use old brood comb as a lure. Thus the advice is to not purchase used brood comb. It risks bringing disease to your apiary.

A better method of setting up the hive as a bait hive is to set up the hive with clean frames with starter strips in a clean box and include a block of propolis.