Amanda's Beekeeping Notes November 2019

Beekeeping notes by Amanda Millar

recently made wax blocks

This month is a quiet month for me, most things are done, although very shortly I shall strap the hives up and put anti-woodpecker chicken wire round them and check all entrances are mouseproof.  In spite of the rain we have had it has been fairly mild and the bees very active between showers, bringing in loads of pollen. As soon as the temperature drops to about 12 degrees C the bees will go into a cluster and become less active. Then we must check that the entrances are clear regularly.

I have been dusting mine, weather permitting, against the usual varroa ‘Bomb’ which hits them in October. The levels at home have not been excessive and not getting any worse but at the divisional apiary the drop has been creeping up relentlessly and this week one topped 400 mites after a single dusting, gloom! They are also bad tempered and heavy to lift so I think I shall go on to Oxalic Acid vapourisation soon. It is supposed to be 95% effective on the phoretic mites on the adult bees (icing sugar between 30-50% effective, neither effective against mites in the brood), but as I don’t intend opening them to remove all the brood I shall need to treat 4-5 times at 5 day intervals. But at least they will not be able to take their anger out on me and I will not have to lift heavy supers.

All the heavy rain we have had recently offers the opportunity to check the roofs are waterproof and the crownboards are dry while it is still mild enough to change them. I did find one badly constructed second-hand roof at the divisional apiary, (nails through the top of the metal instead of the side!) which was letting in water, which I have changed and shall not use again unless I give it a new metal top. When I make them up I put a squirt of silicone sealer in the corners of the metal tops before fitting to prevent water ingress.

A nice activity at this time of year is make things with the wax you have carefully collected all year. After fine filtering the wax through a jelly bag, today I am making 1oz blocks of pure cappings wax and next week will make some candles from the rescued wax. Hope to see you at the Convention on 2nd November at Uckfield.


my nightlight kit, using a children's silicone lined bun tin


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