The Dartford Beekeepers

Dartford Branch of the Kent Beekeepers’ Association




           Following the warm weather in November when the bees where still flying and consuming stores the colder weather this month should see them confined to the hive and consuming less stores.

           On the Apiary due to the very dry summer months the bees did not find sufficient nectar for the Queen to continue laying and expand the colony so instead the bees had room to store Honey in the Brood Chamber and thus did not need to be fed sugar syrup.  Although the honey will see them in better stead than syrup they have been very active in November and could have used more stores than they managed to find so I will be hefting the hives to ensure that there is some weight and as such some stores available.  This will be checked again in January and if they are thought to be light and thus running short of stores then a portion of fondant (do not feed syrup during the winter months) will be placed directly above the cluster of bees.  This is an emergency feed and should not be relied on as a staple each year, it is always better to ensure that they have an adequate supply of honey and or syrup before the cold weather sets in.

           The responsibilities of the beekeeper through the winter months is to monitor the hives and ensure that they are weather tight, this means that the hive is water tight so the bees do not get wet from either rain or snow entering the hive also that it is stable and secure against strong winds and or animals knocking it over and scattering the bees.  Should we get any snow this must be kept clear of the entrance as it prevents the bees from cleaning the hive leaving to defecate or even to ventilate the hive to control both temperature nad moisture within the hive.

           I trust you have all treated for Varroa to give your bees the best chance at surviving the season, if not then please contact myself (Kevin) and we can arrange to use an Oxalic Acid Vaporizer on them  possibly in early January.



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