Exclusive Advice with Beekeeper Kasper
Autumn is officially with us yet the summer sun is pleasantly still shining at the NBS apiary. This could all change quickly, so I have starting preparing our bees for Winter. Follow me Follow me in a few simple steps to ensure good wintering of your bees.
If you haven’t taken off your summer honey yet, now is the time to do it! In some places in the UK bees might be still getting nectar from late flowering plants like heather. Heather will stop flowering around the second week of September so if your bees are working the heather, you can take the honey off around this period and start preparing your bees for the winter.
The number of wasps and hornets can rise rapidly at this time of year so make sure you keep your colonies nice and strong. Make sure entrance blocks are in place to prevent robbing. I will put the wasps traps out at National bee supplies apiary if I see lots of wasps around the hives. Some years we get lots of wasps trying to rob our hives while in others there is hardly any flying around.
The first thing I do before the winter is to make a final check of all the hives. Open the hives gently using a puff of cool smoke and look for brood, ideally you want to see all stages of healthy brood. Larvae should have a pearly white colour and the brood shouldn’t be patchy. Each hive should have at least a couple of frames of pollen stores. The colony should also have at least about two or three British standard frames of honey stores. Do not worry if there is a bit less at this point as we will be feeding the bees with syrup.
After I have checked all the colonies in our apiary, I will start feeding the hives with ambrosia syrup. I am using 6 litre economy bulk feeders for our hives. Depending on the amount of stores in the hives I will pour about 4 litres of syrup into each feeder per visit. Three 4 litre feeds per hive should be plenty. I will make sure all the hives are fed before the end of this month.
Treating hives for varroa mites is the last step. I am using Apiguard at the NBS apiary this year. It is a very easy treatment to use. The active ingredient is Thymol. To apply simply place an Apiguard eke on the top of a brood box, peel the lid off the tray and place on the top bars. Reposition the cover board and roof back on the hive. Two applications of one tray of Apiguard gel per colony at two-week intervals per hive will cover one brood cycle so none of the mites can hide in the sealed cells.
Asian Hornet Week 2021
The 6th-10th September is BBKA’s Asian Hornet Week, an event to raise awareness of this highly effective predator of insects, including honeybees. Late summer, early Autumn is the time for trapping as wasps and hornets lose their sources of floral nectar and find hives full of honey very attractive. During Asian Hornet Week, spend some time actively looking for these predators. You can download the ‘Asian Hornet Watch’ app on your phone so you have all the information you need on how to identify and report sightings of Asian Hornets and their nests. You can read more about Asian Hornet Week on the BBKA’s website.
If you want to learn more about Asian Hornets, we have a The Asian Hornet Handbook by Dr Sarah Bunker, available on our website.
Honey Recipes by Gill Meller
Chef and award-winning food writer Gill Meller shares his latest honey recipe! This is the perfect treat for the weekend.
Figs with yoghurt, honey & roasted barley crumble
- 400ml thick Greek yoghurt
- 6 perfectly ripe figs
- 2-3 tbsp runny honey and honeycomb
- few thyme sprigs (optional)
For the barley crumble
- 100g plain flour
- pinch of fine salt
- 100g butter, cubed and chilled
- 75g golden caster sugar
- 75g barley flakes
- First, make the barley crumble. Heat the oven to 175°C/335°F/ gas mark 3–4. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix and rub the ingredients thoroughly together until you have formed clumps and lumps.
- Line a large baking tray with a piece of baking parchment. Tip out the mixture onto the tray and distribute evenly. Place in the oven for 20–30 minutes, turning the crumble over three or four times during baking, until it is evenly golden all over. Remove from the oven.
- To construct the dish, spoon the yoghurt out onto a large serving plate or platter and spread it evenly over the base. Halve the figs, or quarter them if they are large, and scatter the pieces over the yoghurt. Cut the honeycomb up into small sticky bits and distribute this in, around and over the figs.
- Scatter over a few generous handfuls of the barley crumble, and finish off with a little shake of leaves from the thyme sprig, if using.
WIN A £25 Online Gift Voucher!
We’re very happy to say that Mark Driver, North Yorkshire, won our last monthly beekeeping competition!
Our next beekeeping quiz question is here, and this time you have a chance to WIN a £25 gift voucher that can be spent on any of our products!
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 Monday 27th September – Good Luck!
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