Exclusive Advice with Beekeeper Kasper

While the weather can be still mild and fairly sunny in September, it is starting to feel like autumn. We should make sure our bees have plenty of food for the winter and are treated for varroa.

After taking the honey off in August, I’m feeding the bees small portions of sugar syrup to make sure the queen is laying lots of eggs. This will help build a strong colony by springtime, ensuring health and a good harvest next year.

I’m doing final checks of the colonies in September, whilst the weather is still warm. When I open the hive, I am looking for all stages of healthy brood – this tells us the queen is in the hive, we don’t necessarily need to see her.

I’m making sure the hive has at least one frame with lots of stored pollen. Some hives have got a few frames full of pollen stored and, in this case, we can add some frames to hives which have little pollen stored. I’m also paying attention to the number of food stores in the hive. Most of our hives at the NBS apiary, which are on double brood boxes, do not need winter feed this year because the honey flow was so good. The top brood boxes are full of honey so I’m going to leave them for the bees, but some hives will require feed still. I will be using the economy bulk feeder for winter feed and filling it up at least once full with ambrosia feed.

September is still a good time to do summer varroa treatment if you haven’t done it yet. I advise you to keep changing the treatment every year or two to stop the varroa from building resistance. We have a range of treatments to choose from including Apiguard, Apistan and Apilife Var.

Watch our tutorial on how to treat your hives for Varroa with Apiguard:

September Honey Recipe by Gill Meller:

We owe this striking autumnal salad to the Earth, every single element comes from the dark soil around us.

Celeriac, Plum & Blackberry Salad

Author: Gill Meller


  • 1 firm celeriac (about 1kg/2lb 4oz), peeled and cut into 3–4cm (11⁄4–11⁄2in) chunks
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 500g (1lb 2oz) ripe plums, halved and stoned
  • 1 small handful of sage leaves
  • a few sprigs of rosemary
  • 100g (31⁄2oz) blackberries
  • runny honey, to taste
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
  • Place the celeriac chunks in a baking tray, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle over 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, making sure the celeriac is nicely coated. Place the celeriac in the oven and roast for about 30 minutes, then remove the tray from the oven and carefully arrange the plum halves in and around the chunks. Tuck in the sage and rosemary, and trickle everything with the remaining olive oil. Return the tray to the oven, and continue roasting for 15–20 minutes, until the plums are lovely and soft, but still holding a little shape. Keep your eye on them as plums can cook at different rates depending on how ripe they are.
  • When you’re happy with how everything is looking, remove the tray from the oven and scatter over the blackberries. Taste the celeriac and plums, seasoning with salt and black pepper, and trickling over a little honey to sweeten, if necessary.
  • Transfer the salad to a bowl or platter and serve straight away.

Order Gill’s Time Cookbook for more recipes or follow @gill.meller on Instagram.

Photography: Andrew Montgomery


Header image by Siva Shan.