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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  • New Appointments within the National Bee Unit
    14 January 2022
    We are pleased to announce the temporary appointment of Dhonn Atkinson as the National Bee Inspector (NBI) whilst the current NBI Cristina Ruiz is on maternity leave. Dhonn has held a variety of roles across the National Bee Unit and Animal and Plant Health Agency where he held the role of Regional Bee Inspector for the North East of England.

    Following the retirement of Keith Morgan, Colin Pavey, and shortly Frank Gellatly and the temporary promotion of Sandra Gray, we are pleased to confirm the following movements and appointments:-

    Regional Bee Inspector for Western England – Jonathan Axe has been promoted from the role of Seasonal Bee Inspector.

    Regional Bee Inspector for Eastern England - Pete Davies, an experienced manager has moved from the Central England Region.

    Regional Bee Inspector for Central England - John Geden. John joins the National Bee Unit as an experienced bee farmer.

    Regional Bee Inspector for South East – Daniel Etheridge a seasonal bee inspector has been offered a temporary promotion to manage this area.

    Regional Bee Inspector for Wales – Maggie Gill has been promoted from the role of Seasonal Bee Inspector.

    Regional Bee Inspector for North East England – David Bough a seasonal bee inspector has been offered a temporary promotion to manage this area.

    For full up to date details please visit the contacts page
  • Seasonal Bee Inspector (SBI) vacancies
    21 December 2021
    The National Bee Unit currently has a Seasonal Bee Inspector (SBI) vacancy advertised in:

    East England: Norfolk.

    North East England: East Yorkshire

    Mid-South Wales: Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Merthyr Tydfil, South Pembrokeshire, West Carmarthenshire

    West England: South East Shropshire, South Staffordshire, North West Worcestershire

    If you are interested in applying for these jobs, full details can be found on Civil Service Jobs

    If you have any questions regarding the position, please contact the Regional Bee Inspector for the area.

    Closing date for application: 16th January 2022
  • Bee Health Advisory Forum - Science Advisor
    08 November 2021
    The Bee Health Advisory Forum brings Defra & Welsh Government policy and stakeholders together to discuss honey bee health issues and is inviting expressions of interest from applicants interested in being Bee Health Advisory Forum Science Advisors. The closing date for applications is Friday 17th December at 17:00.

    Full details about the role can be downloaded here and can be found on the Bee Health Advisory page. Please circulate to prospective advisors or feel free to apply.