Apiary meetings

This page displays details of our forthcoming meetings as well as reports to members on our apiary activities.

The weather is usually enough to play havoc with apiary meetings without any help from COVID so this year, we’re trying something different.

Apiary meetings have been scheduled in pairs; Friday and Saturday. We’ll aim to meet at 18.15 on a Friday evening but if bad weather makes that impossible, we’ve got 10.00 on Saturday morning to fall back on. There’s no guarantee the weather will have improved on Saturday but it gives us another chance!

At the moment, all apiary meetings are set for Swanmore but if West End builds up sufficiently, we may be able to hold one of the meetings there. If possible, please add both the Friday and Saturday dates to your diary.

Apiary meeting, Friday 11 June

Friday 11 June was well attended and despite slightly unpredictable weather, some of our new members gained their first experience of working with bees. All that turning coat hangers via zoom seems to have paid off and a good time was had by all!

It was disappointing to find that one large colony wasn’t queen-right despite being on double brood. In an experience mirrored this year by many of our members, the association colonies have suffered as a result of the wet May.

Many colonies built-up strongly in April and were subsequently split as part of swarm control measures. Young queens hatching in the splits were unable to get out to mate which has left too many new colonies without viable queens.

In another of the association colonies, the queen was found to be laying in the supers. Although no action was taken at the meeting (rain threatening), Lisa and Richard returned the following evening to remedy the situation.

This is not the first time a queen has been found ‘upstairs’ in this hive. A faulty queen excluder perhaps? It’s always worth checking that equipment is in good condition.

All our new keepers were calm around the bees and demonstrated good handling skills. They were able to identify eggs, larvae, worker and drone brood and also enjoyed watching new workers hatching. Many thanks to Louise, Denise and Lisa for making it all happen. You’ll find plenty more pictures in the family album.

Next meeting: Friday 9 or Saturday 10 July

Possible themes; disease checks; varroa counting, look for signs of sac brood and foul brood, preparation for harvest.

Apiary meeting, Friday 20 or Saturday 21 August

Possible themes: assessing stores levels, possible preparation for harvest, disease check; look for signs of foul brood, chalk and sac brood.

Apiary meeting, Friday 10 or Saturday 11 September

Preparing for winter; check stores, monitor robbing and wasps, possible merges, check queen right.

Apiary and equipment tidy, Friday 24 or Saturday 25 September

Making frames and boxes, cleaning frames and boxes, stores tidy, general apiary tidy.

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