Exclusive Advice with Beekeeper Kasper

Happy New Year from all of us at National Bee Supplies! January is a very quiet month in the apiary, but there are still a few jobs for you to do;

It’s not too late to treat your hives for varroa mites with oxalic acid. You can use VarroMed or Api-Bioxal. VarroMed comes premixed in a 555ml bottle and it’s ready to use. Api-bioxal comes in a 35g pouch which needs mixing with a sugar-water solution. Watch our YouTube tutorial on how to treat your hives with Api-bioxal.

Heft your hives to check food stores. If they are light, feed your bees with ambrosia feed paste.

Sort through your equipment, repair any damaged parts and sterilise all the hive parts so they are ready to use in the Spring. It’s a good time to make some new frames up ready for the season.

In January I always look through previous years apiary notes to plan next season. I will plan the number of nucs I’ll be aiming to make and assemble all the new hive parts before spring starts so everything is prepared for the busy swarming time.

New Year Beekeeping Sale!

Our January sale is live! Shop now for seconds hive parts, frames & more! At NBS, all our seconds are treated with the same care as our firsts to ensure you receive functionally sound products every time. Our Workshop Manager Chris explains more in our new YouTube video, watch below.

For up to 50% OFF beekeeping essentials, shop our January Sale.

January Honey Recipe by Gill Meller: Seared Venison with Anise, Rhubarb & Honey

Looking for a dish to enjoy on a cold winter’s day? Gill Meller shares another delicious recipe;

‘Honey and a little sugar soften – but only soften – the acidity of the rhubarb in this colourful dish. I like a slight sharpness, particularly when rhubarb pairs with venison loin, the most tender of all cuts to be found on the deer. It works in the same way a Bramley apple sauce works with pork, or the way a bittersweet plum sauce complements duck. Star anise forms a delicate bridge of spice between rhubarb and venison, as it is equally compatible with both.’

Seared venison with anise, rhubarb & honey

Servings: 4
Author: Gill Meller


  • 2-3 rhubarb stems (about 300g/10½oz altogether),

    trimmed and cut into 3–4cm (1¼–1½in) pieces

  • 2 2 tablespoons honey
  • juice of ½ an orange
  • 2 teaspoons golden caster sugar
  • 1 star anise, roughly broken
  • 400-500g (14oz–1lb 2oz) venison loin, trimmed and ready to cook
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 handful of small chard leaves or other delicate salad leaf
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Heat the oven to 120°C/235°F/gas mark 1. Place the rhubarb pieces in a medium, shallow baking dish and drizzle over the honey, add the orange juice, and scatter over the sugar and star anise.
  • Cover the dish loosely with a piece of greaseproof paper and place the rhubarb in the oven for 20–25 minutes, or until the rhubarb is soft but not broken down. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, season the venison all over with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium pan over a high heat. When it’s really hot, add the venison loin. Cook, turning regularly, for 4–5 minutes for medium–rare. Remove the meat from the pan and allow it to rest somewhere warm for 3–4 minutes.
  • Divide the rhubarb equally between four large plates, reserving the syrup in the bottom of the dish. Cut the loin into thick slices and lay it on and around the rhubarb. Scatter over the chard or other salad leaves, and drizzle over the reserved honey-and-anise syrup. Finish with a drizzle of the remaining olive oil and serve straight away.

Order Gill’s Gather cookbook for more recipes or follow @gill.meller on Instagram.

Photography: Andrew Montgomery