Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Plants to help save the bees!!

So the weather is slowly getting warmer and the days are getting longer.

It won't be long now before the bees are out in earnest replenishing their stocks and feeding the queen up in order for her to lay more eggs.

You don't have to be a beekeeper to help out the bees and it's not just the honey bees that need help...all bees are on the how can we help??

Plants to help the bees.
Plants to help the bees.
Simply plant a few flowers in the garden which the bees love to feed on!! Not only will you be helping the bees but you'll have something pretty to look at and lovely to smell in your garden too!!

On a different note entirely...the meeting went well last night and Jez did a grand job with the talk. It was nice to see so many of you there and we look forward to the next one...even the home made raffl prize was received quite well and won by Stewart...who incidentally forgot to take it home...maybe he didn't like it so much after all?!?!?! Lol.

Home-made raffle prize
Home-made raffle prize.

Hope to have as good a turn out at the March on what we will be doing will come later in the month!!

Just adding a link in for easy reach of the article tpals has mentioned in her comment. It's a good read with some great ideas to help the bees, 'USDA spending $3M to feed honeybees in Midwest'

Sunday, 23 February 2014

The February meeting is this Tuesday!!! (25/02/14)

Dear Grantham District LBKA members and new course people,

Just a reminder that this coming Tuesday February 25th, 7.00 for 7.30 is the monthly meeting at the Railway Club, off Huntingtower Road Grantham.  Go up the narrow lane at the side of the school, follow until you think you must be in the wrong place and the turning for the car park is then on your right, just before the pedestrian tunnel leading to the station.

You will be pleased to know that we have booked the larger room this time so it will not be as hmm what's the word I'm searching for to describe the last meeting? intimate? crowded? sardine like? no room to breathe?  well anyway, a thing of the past!

Jez and his glamorous assistant Roy will be demonstrating some basic tasks and techniques for the coming weeks. Frame building is just the start . . . .   If you have one beekeeper in the room you have at least two opinions already and of course Jez and Roy agree on very little (including whose round it is) so it will no doubt prove to be a lively yet informative evening.

There will be a raffle which will include a bee book kindly provided by Grantham Book Services and A Little Something from Tanya - we don't know what it is yet . . . .  All donations for raffle prizes happily received as are any suggestions for topics for future meetings.

See you all there!  Best wishes, Catherine 

Catherine Sheen
Secretary Grantham District LBKA

On an extra note to Catherines  fabulous invite to the meeting below is a picture of some frame parts..

Building bee hive frames
As your bee keeping journey takes off this is something you will find yourself doing quite a bit (unless of course you opt to buy ready made frames!) so here is a link to a great page for a reminder when the time comes. (How to build a frame)
I only started bee-keeping last year and after watching Jez on the course build frames felt quite confident, that was until I sat at the kitchen table with all these 'bits' in front of me. Lets just sat it took me a LONG time to construct my first frame and I then saw HOURS of work ahead of me.....I did get quicker but mistakes were made as there is so much information to take in on the course. I didn't even think about searching the internet at the time, (in this day and age??? go figure!!) Anyway with all that and the mental block I had in mind I thought the above link may help you all in the coming months....years....decades....even for Jez ( That's the Mr Chairman!) as the Alzheimer's will start to kick in soon!!

Of course if you would like to give your family as much fun and enjoyment as I gave mine on my first 'frame building exercise' then don't visit the link....after all...there was a LOT of laughter!!

Saturday, 22 February 2014

The bees are getting it from somewhere!!!!

Received an e-mail from Stewart Maher today regarding his colonies......

Well I don't know Where they are getting it from but on 23rd Feb two of our colonies observed bringing in loads of pollen. Lots of Snowdrops out but most of what they are bringing in is yellow ?

Check out the bee in the foreground.
bees bringing in pollen in February
Bees bringing in pollen in February.
Also lots of them are crawling all over the lawn, collecting water from the dew on the grass, hopefully to mix with the Fondant they are feeding from, as seen in this second photo

Bees collecting water from the dew on the grass
Bees collecting water from the dew on the grass.
Thanks for sending this update and photos Stewart...keep them coming!!!!

Friday, 21 February 2014

A few Honey and Honey Bee Facts.

Honey Bee Facts;
  • There are three types of bees in the hive – Queen, Worker and Drone.

Source: Random Quick Facts
  • The queen may lay 600-800 or even 1,500 eggs each day during her 3 or 4 year lifetime. This daily egg production may equal her own weight. She is constantly fed and groomed by attendant worker bees.
  • Honey bees fly at 15 miles per hour.
  • Honey bees' wings stroke 11,400 times per minute, thus making their distinctive buzz.
  • Honeybees are the only insect that produce food for humans.
  • Honeybees will usually travel approximately 3 miles from their hive.
  • Honeybees are the only bees that die after they sting.
  • Honeybees are responsible for pollinating approx 80% of all fruit, vegetable and seed crops in the U.S.
  • Honeybees have five eyes, 3 small ones on top of the head and two big ones in front.  They also have hair on their eyes!
  • Bees communicate with each other by dancing and by using pheromones (scents).
  • Honeybees never sleep! 
  •  A populous colony may contain 40,000 to 60,000 bees during the late spring or early summer.
  • A honeycomb cell has six sides.
  • Bees maintain a temperature of 33 degrees Celsius in their central brood nest regardless of whether the outside temperature is 45 or -45 degrees.

 Honey Facts;
  • Honey is 80% sugars and 20% water.
  • To make one pound of honey, the bees in the colony must visit 2 million flowers, fly over 55,000 miles and will be the lifetime work of approximately 300 bees.
  • A single honeybee will only produce approximately 1 and a half teaspoons of honey in her lifetime.
  • A single honey bee will visit 50-100 flowers on a single trip out of the hive.
  • Bees produce honey as food stores for the hive during the long months of winter when flowers aren't blooming and therefore little or no nectar is available to them.
  • Honey is the ONLY food that includes all the substances necessary to sustain life, including water.
  • A typical beehive can make up to 400 pounds of honey per year.
  • Honey never spoils.
  • It would take about 1 ounce of honey to fuel a honeybee's flight around the world.
  • Flowers and other blossoming plants have nectarines that produce sugary nectar. Worker bees suck up the nectar and water and store it in a special honey stomach. When the stomach is full the bee returns to the hive and puts the nectar in an empty honeycomb. Natural chemicals from the bee's head glands and the evaporation of the water from the nectar change the nectar into honey.
  • Out of 20,000 species of bees, only 4 make honey.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

A few nice words and an update.

Well I received a really nice e-mail today with also a few concerns so I thought I would share with you all. Here is what I received.

First  of all congrats Tanya and everyone else involved in setting up the 
electronic communication.

Here we go then with Bee stuff. Today (18 feb) and a couple of days ago my 
bees were quite active. Temp 10 C. They have just gone back in as it has 
started to rain (wimps). I am a little concerned that they are out and 
about looking for food that doesn't exist. I have a little bit of fondant 
left on the crown board which they have been helping themselves to since 
last November. I looked in the hive a week ago and the remains of the 
colony were active clustered at the top of the single super. I am feeling  
happy about the condition of my bees but would be grateful if anyone might 
think that I am over optimistic and if i should take any further action to 
ensure they remain OK. Ignorance is not always bliss.

Robert Watkins
To be honest Robert, personally this is the first year I have cared for bees and I am just happy that at this point mine are still alive. I have had a couple of days where mine have been out and flying but I wasn't worried they wouldn't find anything to collect, they are industrious little things and I too have given them fondant in case they need it. As a total newbie I would say just to keep and eye on the fondant and give more if it all goes....some of the more seasoned beekeepers may have different thoughts and if they do and I am totally wrong lets hope they leave a comment...would be nice if they left a comment to let me know I'm right
Fingers crossed the weather soon picks up and we can see the colony numbers start to rise again!!
So that's about it for this post. I must say though, it's nice to know that members appreciate the hard work we are putting into getting Grantham District up and running and also nice to know that they are coming over to check out what's going on at the blog and using it for the reason it was first created...would love to hear from some more of you with photos too if you have them!!

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Sleaford Beekeeping Meetings 2014

(SBKA) 2014
Indoor meetings programme
Promoting and increasing awareness of beekeeping and honey bees.
(All meetings will start at 730pm in the Waggon and Horses Caythorpe.  Entrance is free to all unless stated where a donation would 'bee' welcomed, please feel free to bring along friends and non beekeepers to increase our social interaction.
The programme may change at short notice due to circumstances beyond our control but the theme will always be Bee related and hopefully related to time of year.)
11 Feb – Oil Seed Rape and what it means to Farmer and Beekeeper
4 March  - Early Season inspections maintaining sustainability.
8 April -  Swarms, prevention detection and collection.
12, 19, Apr ,3 May -An introduction to beekeeping 3 sat mornings 930-1230 course, Caythorpe Village hall – contact Simon for details, costs are involved here if not an existing member of SBKA.
13 May -  Increasing stocks making nucs.
3 Jun – Products of the hive for showing.
15 July – Mid Summer activities
5 Aug – Products of the hive for showing.
16 Sept – Preparation of the bees for winter.
14 Oct – Possible film/Quiz evening
11 Nov – Guest Speaker TBC
16 Dec  - Xmas function
For details email Simon Croson......

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Oxalic Acid Varroa Treatment.

Got a little bit of an update from Stewart Maher on 18/01/14....He said....

'Carried out my first ever Oxalic Acid Varroa treatment today. I wasn't sure whether to bother or not as I haven't seen any Varroa in three weeks of monitoring but decided to give it a go anyway. Armed with my pre mixed bottles courtesy of Thornes I opened them up today. All 3 colonies seem to be doing well even our small Nuc that we rescued from the Gamekeepers feeder in August. I was particularly taken back by the sheer strength in numbers of one colony in particular which seemed huge for the time of year and had to drip the mix on 8 frames !'

oxalic acid treatment for varroa
Stewart giving his oxalic acid treatment.

On 19/01/14 Stewart checked his hive again....

Post treatment note

Mire drop 24 hrs after treatment (numbers of dead varroa counted )
 1 hive x 16
1 hive x 4
1 hive x nil (very healthy nuc)


(Not being familiar with oxalic acid myself I did a little research and found this article to share with anyone who was/is as clueless as me!!)


Oxalic acid is a treatment that only kills mites that are living on the bees (those in the phoretic stage). It does not kill mites in the brood. When there is brood in the hive normally only about 15% of the mites are found on the bees (the rest, 85% are in the brood). It follows that oxalic acid works best on colonies that are broodless at the time of treatment. In addition oxalic acid will kill open brood. Oxalic acid can be used on both natural and artificial swarms that offer a broodless period.
Treatment should be delayed until colonies are in a broodless state; most likely this is found late December to early January. Removing the catch tray to ensure good ventilation will encourage the bees to have a broodless period.

The treatment material is 3.2% Oxalic acid in 1:1 sugar solution. The recipe for making this is:
1. Make a sugar syrup consisting of 1Kg sugar in 1 litre of water.
2. Add 75grams of Oxalic acid dihydrate and mix well.

This will make 1.76 litres of oxalic acid solution. Accurate weighing of the oxalic acid is essential as under strength will give a poor mite kill and over strength will kill the bees.

This solution is poisonous and should be stored safely.
Oxalic acid crystals are deadly poisonous and every care must be taken when handling including use of a protective mask, eye protection and gloves.


Treating with oxalic acid

Fill the 50ml syringe with oxalic acid solution.
Open the hive to expose the clustered bees.
Trickle 5ml of solution along each seam of bees.
Close Hive.
This procedure is best carried out when the weather is cold and dry and the bees will be well clustered.
The efficacy of oxalic acid is about 90% and will mop up mites that escaped the Apiguard treatment and will also kill mites that have been bred since that time and those that have come into the hive from external sources.
After the oxalic acid treatment has been completed any top ventilation should be closed and the catch tray repositioned. Mites will continue to fall for about 2 weeks after which the catch tray can be removed.

(this article from Gwent Beekeepers Association)

Thanks for sharing your experience Stewart.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Some 'Buzzing' Facts!!

bee facts

The weather outside is often wet and still VERY windy...not nice weather for the bees and they are staying warm in their hives.

A sneak peak today showed me that mine still have plenty of fondant to feed on so I quickly closed them back up and left them in there cozy colonies more or less undisturbed.

Don't forget if you have bees to check and make sure they have plenty of food through this horrible weather as they can quickly use up there stores especially if they were a new colony that formed last year!!

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Membership Classes/Prices For Grantham District Beekeepers.

Classes of Membership in Lincolnshire Beekeepers' Association (Reg. Charity no. 500360)

Grantham District  

1.Full Member:  £30.00
(An active beekeeper or someone wishing to be treated as such becomes a member of the local District, Lincolnshire Beekeepers' Association (LBKA) and British Beekeepers' Association (BBKA).

 As a Registered member of BBKA:
  • Receive BBKA News magazine monthly.
  • Attend BBKA events
  • Product and Public liability insurances to £10 million
  • From BDI, brood disease insurance for the first 3 colonies (additional premiums for more than 3; £2 for 2 extra, £5.25 for 7 extra, £7.75 for 12 extra, £9.50 for 17 extra, £11.10 for 22 extra, £13.60 for 27 extra)
As a voting member of LBKA:
  • Receive Quarterly Review magazine and Directory of Members
  • Attend LBKA events at Association and District level

2. Partner Member: £20.00
(A member who is an active beekeeper with rights as above except that they share BBKA and LBKA publications with the Full Member who lives at the same address and the Full Member pays for the any extra BDI cover.)

3. Junior Member: £8.50  
(A bee-keeper under 18. Must have adult member who acts in supervisory capacity.)

4. Associate Member: £5.00
(A member who is not an active beekeeper has access to all District activities and some LBKA activities at the discretion of the organisers.)

5. Country Member: £15.00
(An Associate Member (ie non- beekeeper) who wishes to opt into BBKA. Receives BBKA News but does not receive any of the BBKA insurances.)

Membership runs from 1st Jan to 31st Dec but new members joining after 1st Sept have membership to the end of the following year. 

Let's finish with a little humour...if you have any more to share let me know!!

A bit of 'B' humour!!
A bit of 'B' humour!!

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Argument for using sucrose based bee feeds.

The secretary of another district forwarded this and I thought readers might be interested.  The fondant recently purchased by Grantham Beekeepers is of course sucrose based, which is what this paper is saying gives the best results.  

 Sorry the images aren't very can see the report in it's entirety here.

I fed my bees yesterday with the fondant bought by Grantham Beekeepers to be purchased by it's members if they wish. Although the weather was dry it was quite cold and VERY windy so I enlisted the help of my youngest nephew (13) and we were in and out very quick having fed all 3 hives within 2 minutes. Due to the weather I didn't get chance to photograph the event but I will be checking on them in about a week so weather permitting I will be able to get a few quick photos then!!