Dusting bees with icing sugar

It’s widely believed that high varroa levels and the associated viruses (deformed wing virus and bee paralysis virus) are the main causes of winter colony loss. Some of the authorised chemical treatments for varroa are themselves harmful to bees and potentially to the beekeeper too. Sugar dusting has for sometime been recommended as part ofContinue reading “Dusting bees with icing sugar”

The value of nuclei

There used to be a British Standard for nuclei. This is no longer in use but the requirements set out in that standard are still relevant today. A nucleus colony should: • have a young, good quality, laying queen. She may be marked and/or clipped • have all stages of brood present • be freeContinue reading “The value of nuclei”

Feeders; the different types and their uses

Whether you search online or look through a beekeeping catalogue there’s a bewildering array of feeders available in different shapes and sizes. Making sense of all this can be difficult. This page describes the different types of feeder and explains when and how to use them and also looks at the different feed mixes andContinue reading “Feeders; the different types and their uses”

The first Spring inspection

Spring is just around the corner with all the hope and promise that holds for our bees. So it’s worth taking time to plan our first hive inspections. The changeable British weather at this time of year means we need flexibility to practice our beekeeping activities as the weather allows. By early March, most healthyContinue reading “The first Spring inspection”

Queen cells and how to identify the different types

Most new beekeepers quickly learn how to work out when a colony is making preparations to swarm. That’s because, an unchecked swarm will result in a diminished population within the hive, a loss of bees for the beekeeper and can be a nuisance to neighbours. A swarm will certainly reduce the foraging force at aContinue reading “Queen cells and how to identify the different types”

Louise: reflections on 2022

It was a warm, wet January with ten sunny days but I couldn’t get to my colonies and was reduced to external checks only. All colonies were taking in plenty of pollen indicating queens were already laying. By putting in and removing varroa boards a week later and then examining the drop of pollen andContinue reading “Louise: reflections on 2022”

If you’re not on the list, you’re not coming in!

Watch this short film to see the fascinating behaviour of guard bees. They move forward to ‘greet’ incoming bees (or possibly other insects like wasps) and very quickly, make a decision about whether the newcomer is friend or foe. Friends are allowed to pass and others are quickly repelled. What is going on bottom right?Continue reading “If you’re not on the list, you’re not coming in!”