Autumn Makework…

So over two weeks since the last entry, mostly because what we’ve been doing is barely worth writing about.  Other than the eating of honey.  We’ve been eating a lot of our honey.  1/2 a jar a week between us.  We’ve also given some away, and everyone really likes it.  I’m getting used to sentences starting “I never used to like honey, but I tried some of yours and…” =O)

So, the last 2 weeks with the FreeBees have been all about feeding and trying to get the Verroa numbers down.  The first by making and delivering more syrup, and the latter by putting in more ApiGuard.  The syrup, it turns out I’ve been making too weak.  So the load I delivered this weekend was 2lb of sugar per litre of water.  Boil the water, stir the sugar in, leave to cool.  One fellow beekeeper at the Apiary meeting 2 weeks ago – James, who I used to work with on the Farnborough airfield some 20 years ago, coincidentally – suggested fixing a wooden spoon into the chuck of an electric drill to do the stirring, but I’ve not made any that thick yet.

So, here’s an ApiGuard pack on top of our second hive, along with 2 frames of foundation from the Super.  You rip off the lid, place it in the hive and squish the pack.  The idea is the bees hate the smell, the Verroa hate it more – to the point of death.  The bees collect it up, and drag it through the hive to get rid of it.  Trailing it over the comb, and thus clearing the mites out.  I’m on the third pack in the main hive, the second in this.  And both are showing a lot of mites on the tray under the bottom of the hive, so it’s working.  But not enough yet – the drop rate is still to high.  So we’ll be putting more packs in for another week or 2.  One or two weeks per pack before they empty it.

I’ve not been too impressed by the powder I put in at first.  I’m sure it works, but the bees haven’t been carrying it up into the hive, so it can’t do much harm =O(

I got Lucy to do most of the inspections this time – and we still have some capped brood in one or two frames, but the queen is really cutting down for winter.  And we’ll be needing to fit the cages to keep woodpeckers off soon.

But that’s about it.  The Honey show is coming up.  Not sure I’ll put one of my jars in.  But I’ll be there for the tasting =O)

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