Devastating news , due to the negligence of another local beekeeper last year who never inspected their hive then asked me to have a look at why there were so few bees , when I looked it was obvious EFB and the hive had been robbed out ,this was at the end of last season.
I had a standstill notice put on me which is the right thing to do to stop the spread of the disease. I checked mine last year and found two efb larvae in one hive this was treated with antibiotics. Autumn set in.
This spring I inspected my bees to find efb in mild and heavy cases in two hives while another had 10 frames of brood and queen cells but also have one or two EFB larvae. I along with the bee inspector decided a clean sweep was needed and I dispatched the bees , that night and today the inspectors came back to witness the destruction of bees and frames and then to scorch the hives.
Proper Autumn weather is here now, we have had our first couple of light frosts. The bees are still flying back to the hives fully loaded with ivy pollen and in the warmer parts of the days you can smell the scent of the ivy honey wafting through the garden. They are busy trying to dehydrate it and cap it ready for winter ,on the cooler mornings you can see the condensation by the entrance of the humid air that has been fanned outside by the bees.
I have already said I’ve got a bit OCD about hives and hygiene so I have bought brass numbers to put on each hive (they already had them on the brood chambers) so now each brood and super has its own number to make sure there is no mistake when I’m taking honey supers off and putting them back on after spinning. I also got brass letters for my wooden Nucs .. why brass because they were in a end of line sale at 30p each bargain !!
I have also increased the volume of storage I have for honey, some food grade buckets with lids and some honey valves from china another bargain at £5 for the two of ebay its given me an extra 30 litres storage
More of a gardening job but Ive planted 70 bulbs mostly crocuses and tulips but these will be beneficial to the bees in spring along with all the other bulbs that are already there.
There has been a confirmed finding of Asian hornet north of the Mendip Hills in Somerset. As with the first sighting, work to find, destroy and remove any nests is already underway, and includes:
• setting up a three mile surveillance zone around the location of the initial sighting
• opening a local control centre to coordinate the response
• deploying bee inspectors across the area who will use infrared cameras and traps to locate any nests
• readying nest disposal experts who will use pesticides to kill the hornets and destroy any nests
Bee inspectors in Somerset will be supported by nest disposal experts who will use an approved pesticide to destroy any hornets and remove any nests.
The first Asian hornet confirmed in the UK was discovered in the Tetbury area. A nest in the area has since been found, treated with pesticide and destroyed. No further live Asian hornets have been sighted in the area since the nest was removed.
Today I went into all my hives to inspect for health , stores and to remove the queen excluders. I am happy to say hives have plenty of stores a full super and a few brood frames full of honey. All hives are still very strong in number with little sign of Autumn slow down. There was no sign of illness in any hive.
Since the outbreak of EFB in the area I have paid more attention in an OCD way to hive hygiene so have invested in a couple of things firstly I can say I love my new disposable gloves , no sting to report, and they are high cuffed so you can tuck your sleeves into them , my older type gloves always ended up leaving my wrist open to stings ..
Secondly Soda crystals the best thing ever for getting propolis or your equipment and bee suit, if you don’t already use it I highly recommended
There are two jobs in beekeeping I am not much for the first is uncapping honey frames the second is melting wax, both are messy jobs but I am getting better at it. It doesnt matter how much you prepare and put down dust sheets etc both still get everywhere …Now I have my new burner (which is bigger than I thought ), it takes no time at all to bring the old stock pot up to wax melting temperature. This also means I’m out the kitchen and in my potting studio which is great because its always lovely and warm , with views looking down my garden and all my beehives .. This is the second filter I usually do it three times if needed , its usually down to honey content which determines how many times it needs heating it up in rain water. Then I filter it through either old tea towels or t shirts …
My beeswax usually gets made into , lip balms , hand creams , furniture polish and this year candles for the first time.
One more melt and filter and it should be ready to use.
The trials and tribulations of a Cambridgeshire urban beekeeper