South East Herts news by John Mumford

We owe Malcolm and Val High A GREAT BIG THANKYOU for hosting the July Apiary Meeting. Smoked Salmon, Strawberries and Cream, and Cake washed down with pots of tea. What more could you ask for! Malcolm has worked hard to improve the temperament of his bees with great success, and is now able to handle them without gloves and clouds of smoke. Many of our older members may recall how, not too long ago, Peter Heath paused, while demonstrating how, and what to look for when examining a stock for brood disease at Malcolm's Apiary, and getting well stung for his efforts, said, " Just a minute, I think I will go and put some gloves on ". I hope our new members were not overawed while touring round Malcolm's honey extraction/processing/bottling room, remember Malcolm does run some forty colonies, and can't mess around as those with just a few colonies do. Congratulations Malcolm and thanks for a superb afternoon.

After a poor spring and having to feed in early June the weather turned very hot and the bees went barmy. By the middle of July everything dried up and turned brown. My bees have done very well and averaged 80lbs per colony, but now, at the time of writing this, with the cool wet weather they are doing absolutely nothing. I dare not open a hive for more than a few minutes for fear of robbing, and with the numbers of bees per colony I am struggling to get the extracted supers off and safely stored for winter so that I can start treating for Varroa.

The bees are hardly flying at all, and brood rearing has almost stopped. These conditions are ideal for the rapid build up of tracheal mites in the young bees which are so necessary to take the colony through winter. Frow Mixture and Folbex Strips are no longer permitted treatments for tracheal mites, but fortunately, Thymol does help to combat them.

The topic for the next Apiary Meeting on 17th. September at Bayford will be ' Winter Preparation '. I would suggest that members start preparing their bees for winter now. Take great care when feeding not to spill any syrup that could start robbing, and remember that the object is to raise as many HEALTHY YOUNG BEES as possible in order to get the colonies through winter. Over feeding so that the Queen has nowhere to lay, and the bees nowhere to cluster later on is not good practice. Six or Seven BS. brood combs of stores, (30 to 35 lbs stores ) leaving Four or Five combs for the Queen and winter clustering will do just fine.

On Saturday 23rd. September there is the HBKA ' BEE WORLD ' event at Capel Manor where SE Herts will be providing an Observation Hive, it would be appreciated if a few members would volunteer to help man the hive and talk to the visitors.

On Saturday 7th. October there is the Harvest Supper at Hoddesdon Baptist Church Hall, entry is free to members and partners.

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