Exclusive Advice with Beekeeper Kasper

To keep warm during the Winter, bees cluster together and eat the stores they collected in Summer. It’s important not to unnecessarily disturb the hives during this time.

 I am treating the bees at National Bee Supplies apiary with Api-bioxal this December. Api-bioxal contains oxalic acid which is usually used in the Winter for treating varroa mites when the colonies are broodless. This organic treatment is very simple, you just need to follow a few simple steps and wear safety gloves, googles and face mask.

First, put on your PPE, and then mix 308g of sugar with 308ml of warm water in the jug. When the sugar dissolves add the sachet of Api-Bioxal and stir it well. Pour your treatment into a Dosa-Laif applicator, light your smoker and put your bee suit on. Gently open the hives and trickle 5ml of the treatment solution per seam of bees (space between top bars). Use maximum of 50 ml per one hive. Close the hive back up and leave hives undisturbed. Oxalic acid does not penetrate wax so it will not kill the mites which are in the sealed brood.

Watch the tutorial below:

Check on your hives regularly through December for any damages caused by weather or animals. Make sure mouse guards are mounded securely on the entrance.

If for any reason your colony hasn’t got enough food to survive the Winter, I recommend to use ambrosia feed paste from now on until the spring. Ambrosia feed paste is easily digested by the bees because of the fine micro crystals it contains. Simply cut hole in the 2,5kg pouch of fondant and place over the crown board or straight on top of the frames, making sure the cluster of bees have an easy access to it. Replenish once bees have eaten it all.


We’re very happy to say that Mr C Smith from Devon has won our last monthly beekeeping competition! Our next beekeeping quiz question is here, and this time you have a chance to WIN Api-bioxal treatment and a Dosa-Laif treatment applicator.


All you need to do is answer via our survey, and all correct answers will be entered to a prize draw. The draw closes on Friday 24th December – Good Luck!

Before you enter, please read the full terms and conditions.

Honey Recipes by Gill Meller

Chef and award-winning food writer Gill Meller shares his latest honey recipe. This is the perfect treat to enjoy with friends and family over Christmas! Follow @gill.meller on Instragram for more recipes, or visit his website (Gill Meller | Home – Chef, author and food writer).

Honey cake with coriander seed, spelt & orange

Servings: 1 18cm (7in) cake


  • 275g (9¾oz) butter
  • 250g (9oz) golden caster sugar
  • 4 tpsp runny honey
  • grated zest of 1 orange
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds, toasted and crushed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 150g (5½oz) spelt flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 150g (5½oz) ground almonds

For the honey coriander syrup

  • 4 tbsp t runny honey
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds, toasted and crushed
  • juice of 1 orange


  • Heat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar, honey, orange zest and coriander seeds and beat thoroughly until very light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, adding a spoonful of the flour with each and beating thoroughly before adding the next egg and spoon of flour.
  • Combine the remaining flour with the baking powder and sift into the beaten butter, sugar and egg. Using a large metal spoon, carefully fold the flour and baking powder into the mixture, until combined. Stir in the almonds, and mix until evenly combined.
  • Grease an 18cm (7in) springform cake tin, then line it with baking parchment. Spoon the mixture into the tin, spreading the cake batter evenly with the back of the spoon. Stand the tin on a baking sheet (the batter may leak a little during cooking) and bake the cake in the oven for about 50 minutes, until the sponge is springy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool slightly while you make the syrup. Combine all the syrup ingredients in a pan, whisk together and place over a medium–high heat, without stirring, for 4–5 minutes, until reduced. Without removing the cake from the tin, gently prick the surface with a toothpick, and drizzle over the syrup so that it soaks into the hot sponge. Leave the cake in the tin for a further 30 minutes or so, before removing from the tin and placing on to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • The cake tastes best if you leave it for a day or two before eating, and it will store well for at least a week in an airtight tin.

Header image: Foraging for Nectar by James Wong.