Happy New Year to you all, here’s wishing you productive, disease free and calm colonies!
I normally don’t do much at this time of year when it comes to my bees; however this year, apart from the cold snap we had before Christmas, has been so warm that my bees have been flying. Concerned that they are using energy and motoring through their stores, I gave them some fondant in December in case they needed it. Yesterday I had a quick lift of the lid of my hives, and found every scrap of fondant gone, so I added some more. Make sure your hives are not starving – there is precious little forage around this time of year, so it is difficult for the bees to replace the energy they are using by flying. I will keep on checking on them until spring is in full bloom.
Some beekeepers choose to apply Oxalic Acid at this time of year. I don’t for two reasons: Firstly I don’t want to give my bees anything that is very toxic to me, it just doesn’t feel right to me but that is a personal preference! Secondly I am taking Professor Stephen Martin’s guidance, and halving my varroa treatment (only using Apiguard in autumn) and doubling my monitoring in the hope that over time I can help my bees develop resistance to varroa. There are a number of YouTube videos by Prof Martin talking about his research into varroa resistance that are worth a look if you are interested. Here is a link to one of them: ‘Understanding Varroa Mite Resistance‘.
What’s in the larder
I see daffodils poking their leaves out of the ground and catkins on the trees getting ready to go; but in the meantime, I have witch hazel and winter flowering honeysuckle in bloom, what a wondrous sight in these dark days – I hope my bees have sought them out!