It’s that time of year again when I like to zap those pesky Varroa mites with an Oxalic acid vapour! Although deadly for Varroa mites and humans, it’s a harmless treatment for the bees.
Hopefully, with limited brood this time of year, there should be very little Varroa mites protected in capped cells. Therefore, the oxalic acid vapours should kill those Varroa mites attached to the bees, they’ll drop off through the open mesh floor and come spring, there should be a significant reduction in their numbers which in turn will reduce their reproduction. That’s the theory anyway!
Having borrowed the equipment from the East Lothian Beekeepers Association, I felt I should use the equipment as quickly as possible so I could pass it on to another beekeeper. However, family commitments and a flat battery in the equipment meant I couldn’t do the treatment over the weekend. With the battery now charged, thanks to the loan of a charger from my friend Euan, I was ready to go. Only one problem, as it’s potentially a dangerous procedure, I needed a buddy to do the treatment with. As it’s a lengthy process, Stuart didn’t have the time during office hours so it was Mum to the rescue! She accompanied and helped me at both the Gosford and Archerfield Apiaries and we got all the hives treated today.
Hopefully another step forward to a healthy and happy Spring for the bees!
Tonight was the first East Lothian Beekeepers Association Honey Show for many many years. The Association decided to resurrect the show tradition and all members were encouraged to enter. There were various categories of honey: light, medium, dark, creamed, heather and cut comb. There was also a honey frame category and a wax category. It was fantastic to see so many entries and amazing to see the different colours and consistences.
I entered the medium and the creamed categories and, although I didn’t win a prize (this year!), I was very happy with my entry and pleased to have participated. Well done to everyone who competed, congratulations to those that won and many thanks to the East Lothian Beekeepers Association for a fun and interesting night.
In other news, I checked on the bees last week at both the Gosford and Archerfield Apiaries to see how much fondant had been taken. To my surprise 3 hives had finished their fondant so I put on more last week with 3 hives almost finished so I went back today and put on more. I gently smoked them out the empty bag, back down into the hive and I’m please to say, only a few stubborn bees were lost. Of the other 5 hives, 3 hives have taken some fondant but 2 appear to have taken none. Those 2 don’t have much activity in the hive and only a few bees were spotted. They may just be working through their own stores or they could be weak and may not make it – we’ll know more by the Spring.