The bees were very active over the weekend in the unseasonably mild weather. It is nice to see them so busy on the Mahonia and the late ivy, which is still in bloom here, but it is possible that it could scupper our hopes of a successful midwinter mite-cull. The bees will be bringing in nectar and little packets of fresh pollen which could get the queen laying. Should this occur then sealed midwinter brood would act as a refuge for Varroa and when we come along with our oxalic acid in a couple of weeks time they will be safely tucked away and the effects of the treatment will be minimal.
Be aware of the possibility.
We could leave it a bit later but the bees are very much attuned to the changing of the seasons and lengthening days. Before we know what’s hit us the garden heathers, snowdrops, hazel and willow will be breaking bud and the queen will really get into her stride.
We’re too late to go earlier now! But there would have been brood then too – they’ve been bringing ivy in for weeks.
Wouldn’t it be great if we had formic acid to fall back on?
Another thing to bear in mind is that all this activity will be burning a hole in their stores so go forth and heft your hives. If they feel a bit light get yourself a bit of fondant for later.
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