Beekeeping Year



November to December



Inside the Hive - As the nights lengthen and the winter begins to take hold the bees must sit tight within the safety of their hive. On cold nights the bees will form a tight ball (cluster) to conserve heat. With their stomachs full of honey for energy they can remain almost motionless for days even weeks, but, should a mild sunny day appear they are able to move and may even fly outside briefly then return to take another fill of honey ready to regroup into a cluster when night falls.


A strong healthy colony can survive very harsh winter conditions but there are many diseases which can inflict losses. Should the colony numbers drop too low the bees will not be able survive the long dormant period.


In very strong colonies there may even be a little brood reared but usually the queen will take a well earned rest from her egg laying duties.


On the Honey Farm - By the end of a very hectic summer there are still many tasks that require our attention. Extraction equipment has to be cleaned, serviced and put away. Brood boxes and supers are serviced and re stacked. Equipment has to be collected and sorted for maintenance.


Some honey will have to be packed in jars for Christmas markets or sold in bulk containers for packers.


As the year draws towards the winter solstice the bees are at their lowest ebb. With no brood in the hives we have one last chance to attack the Varroa Mites. By opening every hive once more and administering an Oxalic Acid in syrup treatment. Any mites not killed by previous treatment will not be able to hide in the brood cells and will be clinging to the winter bees. With the mites vulnerable and exposed this final treatment should be very effective.


Now our year is truly at an end safe in the knowledge that everything possible has been done for our precious workforce. We can reflect on the past season and enjoy a well earned Christmas holiday as it will not be long for the call of spring beckons and a new bee-keeping season will be upon us.

 

Nov-Dec Gallery

Click on a picture to see a larger version

 

 Applying oxalic treatment to prevent varroa

 

Oxalic treatment

 

 Christmas inspection

 

Christmas Day