The BeeHolder, January 2011
I write this with snow blocking the front door; snow piled high on the hives and ice everywhere. Is it climate change? I don’t know. But I am comforted by the fact that I have never lost a hive during a long cold winter. Our speaker in March Dr Rob McCall will no doubt tell us how we can cope. I am hoping he will tell us that fascinating bees such as Osmia rufohirta (featured on our cover) will be common place in the UK and that we will have the balmy weather of the Loire Valley and the grapes and wine to match. I am tired of struggling through the ice.
The frozen ground is holding up the building of our Bee Viewing Shelter in our Training Apiary at Gregynog. All the components are ready; we just need to wait for the ground to thaw to do the foundations. The gap between the double security barrier was supposed to have been planted with David Austin roses but the ground has been too hard for them to be dug up.
But there is one job that is best done after a long cold spell; Oxalic Acid Treatment. This is best done when there is no brood present and the recommended time is between Xmas and mid January. However, in past years some of us have actually noticed brood during this time. With the prolonged cold spell so early there won’t be any brood in the hives this year. So the treatment can go ahead. There was an article on oxalic acid vapour in the last BeeHolder. This time we give a fuller explanation of how to apply it (see here). A MBKA member has promised to put up a better U-Tube video of the oxalic acid procedure than the one mentioned in the article. We will email you when it is loaded up.
When I told SBI Peter Guthrie of my kitchen fire caused by neglecting a pan of dissolving sugar he laughed and reminded me of his bulk buy of Ambrosia. The cost is higher than the cheap deals that one can get from Price Jones for cane sugar but cheaper than sugar from a regular supermarket and certainly a saving on the excess one has to pay before the insurance provides a new kitchen. Those who attended Peter’s talk last year may have been cynical about his euphoria about the Ambrosia but the sheer convenience of ready dissolved bee food has convinced me. Now is the time to book up a delivery from Peter; his Ambrosia does give the girls a tremendous spring boost.
We now have a tradition of having our New Year/Xmas Dinner during January. It is a kick off for what should be a great new year rather than a celebration of the one just finished. Perhaps indeed we should forget 2010 and look forward to 2011. The dinner should be great. It is in the newly refurbished Music Room at Gregynog. And we will have our old friend Lembit Opik entertaining us and bullying us to be ebullient about the future. Then we have a series of Training sessions starting in Mid February and continuing till May. There may be more from June onward depending on demand.
Apiary visits will mostly be at Gregynog this year. If there is rain we will hold a meeting indoors in one of the Lecture rooms. The Apiary at Gregynog will allow us to have two meetings going on simultaneously: one for the novices and one for those more experienced beekeepers. Our aim next year must be to satisfy all those interested in bees from the nursery classes of 5 year olds using our secure Bee-Viewing Shelter, to the “5-generations-beekeeping-in-my-family” patriarch.
We welcome as new members
Scott Davies/Newtown, Jane Milner/Bettws,
Happy Xmas and a happy and productive New Year to you all