With Spring nearly upon us, it's essential that you complete any outstanding cleaning of your beekeeping kit before it is used again. Hive parts will last a lot longer if they are repaired as soon as a problem appears, but if you haven't had the chance to patch things up at the time, make sure you do it soon. And remember, repairing is much easier when the parts are dry.

The branch apiary had a thorough going over this weekend as, apart from the very blustery wind, the weather was tolerable.

As well as maintenance, cleaning is essential and will reduce your chances of disease and pest problems during the year. It's important that you scrape off your wax and propolis, scrub your polystyrene kit with a suitable washing soda and bleach solution and scorch your wooden kit, particularly in the crevices, where unpleasantness may be hiding.

Useful tools for this job are a stiff wire brush, a blowtorch and although it's marketed as a Wire Excluder Cleaner, this tool is great for scraping all the flat surfaces of your wooden kit as well.

You will find separating your hive parts easier if they are not propolised together. The bees will also be calmer if there isn't a struggle to prise things apart, so floors, brood boxes, supers, ekes, queen excluders and crown boards can all have their upper and lower contact surfaces (as well as the rebate that takes the frame lugs) treated with Petroleum jelly with white spirit added as a thinner. Using the thinner allows it to soak into the wood and you'll find that propolis won't stick, making cleaning easy.

I've found it easier to clean poly hives by lining them with aluminium adhesive tape (obtainable at many DIY stores) prior to using them. The propolis and wax don't adhere as well to the aluminium, and scrubbing with washing soda won't destroy the polystyrene. if the tape comes off for any reason during cleaning (which rarely happens in my experience), just re-line it.

I suspect that the aluminium also enhances the thermal properties of the hive, and my bees don't seem to mind it at all.

You will find a very good summary of cleaning guidance over at the Conwy Beekeepers website, and the official advice, along with many other gems at the Bee base "Advisory Leaflets, Training Manuals & Fact Sheets" page

 


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  • LAST CHANCE: to answer our survey on how training and information sources for beekeepers and bee farmers can be improved
    20 April 2021
    With thanks to those of you who have already responded. For those of who haven’t yet had chance to answer the survey there is still time but it closes tomorrow. For further details please see below.

    Gyda diolch i'r rhai ohonoch sydd eisoes wedi ymateb. I'r rhai nad ydynt wedi cael cyfle eto i ateb yr arolwg mae amser o hyd ond mae'n cau yfory. Am fanylion pellach gweler isod.

    Defra and the Welsh Government want to ensure that beekeepers and bee farmers have access to training and information that can help them implement effective biosecurity and maintain good standards of husbandry, so as to minimise pest and disease risks and improve the sustainability of honeybee populations.

    A short questionnaire is available for current beekeepers, people who have recently stopped keeping bees as well as bee farmers to give their views and opinions on the type, accessibility and range of training and information available and how it could be improved. It should take no more than 15 minutes.

    Please go to https://eu5se.voxco.com/S2/87/healthy_bees/ to complete the survey by 21 April.

    Defnyddiwch y ddolen hon i gwblhau'r arolwg erbyn 21/04/2021.
  • Seasonal Bee Inspector (SBI) Vacancies
    19 April 2021
    The National Bee Unit currently has a number of Seasonal Bee Inspector (SBI) vacancies advertised in the following areas South Kent & East Sussex, South West Devon and South East Wales

    If you are interested in applying for the job, full details can be found on Civil Service Jobs.


  • Reporting Varroa
    12 April 2021
    Amendments to the Bee Diseases and Pests Control (England) Order 2006, the Bees Diseases and Pest Control (Scotland) Order 2007 and the Bee Diseases and Pests Control (Wales) Order 2006 come into force on the 21st of April 2021 requiring all beekeepers and/or officials in GB to report the presence of Varroa in any of the hives that they manage. This amendment will allow Great Britain to comply with the Animal Health Law which is necessary for future working relationships with the European Union.

    To make this simple, a tick box will be introduced to BeeBase, the voluntary register for beekeepers managed by the National Bee Unit. This will be the easiest way to report Varroa but an alternative mechanism will be provided for those who do not wish to register on the BeeBase system. Details of this alternative system will be provided after 21st April. If Scottish Beekeepers wish to, they can report varroa by contacting the Scottish Bee Health Inspectors (BeesMailbox@gov.scot).

    Although Varroa is known to be widespread, it continues to be one of the most serious pests faced by beekeepers. Reporting Varroa will contribute to the overall pest and disease surveillance work of the National Bee Unit and the Scottish Bee Health Inspectorate. We are grateful for your assistance with this new simple measure.

    No action will be required until after 21st April.