Tag Archives: Wintering

Christmas – Bees and Wintering

Christmas is one of the four quarter days which mark the changing of the seasons.

The four quarter days are:

  • Lady day or the Feast of the Annunciation 25th March;
  • Midsummer’s day around 25th June;
  • Michaelmas 29th September;
  • Christmas 25th December – lest we forget – fat chance.

They all approximately coincide with either an equinox or a solstice.

Continue reading Christmas – Bees and Wintering

Michaelmas – Bees and Wintering

Michaelmas, or the Feast of St.Michael, is one of the four quarter days which mark the changing of the seasons.

The four quarter days are:

  • Lady day or the Feast of the Annunciation 25th March;
  • Midsummer’s day around 25th June;
  • Michaelmas 29th September;
  • Christmas 25th December – lest we forget – fat chance.

They all approximately coincide with either an equinox or a solstice. Continue reading Michaelmas – Bees and Wintering

How to Stop Robbing Bees or Wasps

August is a wicked month and the bees are at their very worst: the major summer flows have dried up and the ivy is weeks away. The bees will beg, borrow or steal to build themselves up for winter.

Of course neither begging nor borrowing is open to them but they know how to steal!

Once robbing has started it is very difficult to stop so the best thing to do is try and prevent it from starting.

Here’s how: Continue reading How to Stop Robbing Bees or Wasps

What to do with queenless Apideas

An annual quandry for beekeepers is – what to do with all those queenless Apideas at the end of the queen-rearing season.

Most advice is to set the Apidea over a nuc and unite the two but this often comes to one sort of sticky end or another and is less viable when you have a number of them.

Here’s a neat alternative: Continue reading What to do with queenless Apideas

Importance of Pollen

A good supply of pollen is essential to a honeybee colony because…

… bees cannot live on honey alone. While the sugars in honey supply the bees’ energy needs, in addition they require the protein, fats, minerals and the miscellaneous dietary supplements found in pollen. The protein content of the pollen of different plants is variable but generally very high, containing amounts comparable with peas and beans (Witherell), or seeds and peanuts (Dietz). Continue reading Importance of Pollen

How to unite bees – the Newspaper Method

The most common scenarios when you might want to unite two colonies of bees include:

  • When one of them is queenless;
  • When one of them has a vile queen and you are about to make them queenless;
  • When one or both colonies are too weak in the approach to winter.

Most bee books will tell you to unite the two using the ‘newspaper method’ Continue reading How to unite bees – the Newspaper Method

How to unite bees – the Third Box Principle

Rationale

Once upon a time I used to keep mice. They don’t swarm but they are territorial and they do fight. If you try to introduce two mice, of any or either sex, by simply dropping one into the cage of the other they will fight. However, if you put the two of them together in a third cage they will get along like a house on fire. This is what I call ‘the third box principle’ and the same thing applies with bees.

Before we go any further I should state that the Third Box Principle is not an explanation of bee behaviour but it is a model which helps the beekeeper to ‘put a handle’ on what is observed. It is also a particularly helpful thing to know when you are in the thick of the latest bee conundrum and wondering what the hell to do next – it can give you extra options.

Here are some useful things to do with it:

Continue reading How to unite bees – the Third Box Principle