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Hard Time For Bee Colonies – Ivor Davis

After the poor weather we had this spring and summer we must expect our bees to go through the winter in poor health. We had  colonies trying to swarm in bad conditions and many queens will have been mated poorly. I must say to new beekeepers that you started in a bad year, probably the worst year for the last 20 years and it may be that some colonies will just not be strong enough to survive the next few months of winter.

This period of the year is hard on fit colonies if the bees are undernourished or have been subject to disease they will find it difficult to survive long enough to raise new brood in February and March to take the colony forward into the next season. You can help -the most important jobs are to ensure that the number of varroa mites in the colony is kept to a minimum and that the colony has access to food in case it was not able to store enough before winter came. We advise the use of oxalic acid through the dribbling method to keep the mites down and feeding with candy to ensure the bees do not run out of food.

If you have not done either of these before do not be put off. They are quite simple operations and one of our experienced beekeepers will either talk you through the procedure or help you. Also, before you go off and buy the oxalic acid or candy talk to us because we generally have stocks and can supply them at much cheaper prices. If you do not know who to ask contact Helen Fordham our Branch Secretary and she will be able to suggest a few names.

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