In the apiary

                                          October

            Autumn is now with us so we need to take a closer account of the bees’ needs. Entrances which may have been closed down can be opened later in the month to ensure adequate ventilation over the winter. Check regularly under the roof for wax moth which like the dark there and for queen wasps seeking warm winter accommodation.

          Anti-varroa treatment should be coming to an end. Currently the Thymol-based treatments Apiguard, Apilife-Var and Thymovar seem to be the preferred method of killing mites although MAQS strips provide a fast effective way of removing varroa.. As always, do read the instructions carefully. If you don’t treat your hives now you are unlikely to have bees next year although there is always the possibility of applying an oxalic acid treatment during the winter holiday season.

Syrup feeding should be completed by now or the bees will not have time to ripen it before the cold weather begins. Ambrosia which can be bought from the association is an inverted syrup and is being used by a number of beekeepers as a late feed. Do, though, organise some fondant as winter feed. Remember that bees usually consume a superful of food over the winter period.

          Are your mouse guards on – if not, why not? If you keep colonies out in the countryside you will understand the wisdom of putting mouseguards on early. There is nothing worse than the bees labouring all summer just to provide a cosy retreat for some idle mouse.

          Should the worst happen and you lose a colony for whatever reason close the entrance to prevent robbing and let the bee inspector know so that the hive can be checked as a priority in the spring.

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