Warning - Check Your Bees!

by Peter Mathews

Once upon a time we looked upon July as the month of peak honey flow. This was in the days before we enjoyed  field after field of oil seed rape.  Today we still think of July as a month of plenty with an abundance of food for the bees. With the swarming colonies out of the way, having either swarmed or been controlled, many of us are sitting back and letting our bees get on with for a few weeks.........

Imagine my shock when checking a very strong colony from an artificial swarm. It was doing incredibly well, except there were absolutely no stores. In some 30 years of beekeeping this is the first time I have fed a colony in the middle of July. I suspect that I am not alone. If you haven't inspected your bees for a while, I suggest you get along at the next opportunity. I am afraid that some beekeepers will lose colonies in the coming weeks.

My best price for sugar is 79p/ kg from Pound Stretcher.  I understand Booker are selling at 82p/kg.

On a more serious note, Fragile Planet have recently supplied bees with American Foul Brood. If you have any suspicions regarding your bees then contact Peter Folge immediately:- the_beekeeper@hotmail.com.

North Herts news by Graham Beesley

What a busy month June has been.

My impression has been that members have had good quantities of early season honey which, having been made up of rape, has presented the usual problems with extraction. I learned this year that rape honey is mostly glucose sugar which causes it to crystallize as quickly as it does. The Lime is in flower as I write and smells beautiful, the blackberry is covered in bees and hopefully we will have a fruitful second harvest.

We have enjoyed two member’s apiary meetings in June, the first at Nortonbury, hosted for us by John and Jenny Nichol. I didn’t get too involved in going through the hives, being in charge of the tea making. Not too much time was taken inspecting the hives and a very pleasant picnic was enjoyed by those who came.

The second meeting was at Pat Veasey’s home. We managed to miss the showers and the hives were very swiftly dealt with by Frank Everest and John Hill, who performed the necessary with great alacrity. It was another good turnout, with a very nice tea provided by Jennifer and Jane, Pat’s Wife and Daughter.

At the beginning of the month Derek Richardson and I spent a very pleasant day at Bee World, organised this year by Welwyn Beekeepers Association, at the Herts County Show. Bee World was a great success, with the observation hive thronged with people all day long. Thanks to Lorraine Moir who was visiting the show and gave up some of her day to help out.

I gather from Helen Amey that members who have requested swarms have been supplied and hopefully the swarming season is coming to an end. Having said that, my bees, having tried to swarm early in April and May, have gathered strength and are having another go now.

Looking to the future our last apiary meeting for this year is at Standalone Farm on Friday, 8th July, at 5.30pm. Please note the date, not the 5th, as I had previously informed you.

For those of you with a thirst for peering into other peoples hives we will continue to meet at the Garden Centre on a Saturday morning right through the season. These meeting are well attended and we have had up to a dozen new and interested beginners in attendance. Weather permitting we meet at 10.00 a.m. in the car park.

I wish you all a pleasant summer and will hope to meet you at one of our indoor meetings which begin in October.