Those of you who attended the Warwickshire Beekeepers AGM may have noticed that Rugby Beekeepers are currently punching above their weight. Despite the fact that we are one of the smaller branches we now have Samatha Peckett as chair, and our very own Maurice West is now President of Warwickshire Beekeeping Association! Well done!
Beekeeping is always dependent on the weather and this Spring is no exception. With record low temperatures and rainfall in April, what should be an explosion of forage for the bees with tree blossom supplying copious amounts of nectar and pollen from trees like Sycamore, and various plum species that are now blooming well, the drought and cold have delayed the flow. Low temperatures and drought slow down the release of nectar, and of course the bees are not able to fly any distance when temperatures are low. You may have noticed that while there is plenty of pollen in the hive, supers are not filling up quite as quickly as could be expected at this time of year.
My bees are not near any fields of Oil Seed Rape, but if your bees are, your supers should be filling rapidly, so make sure you put on extra supers as soon as you see ¾ of the frames are covered with bees. Also, remember that OSR tends to crystallize in the frames if you do not extract them as they are sealed.
Sometimes people ask what to do with crystallized supers. It is tricky to deal with this problem. You can score the cappings to expose the crystallized stores and put them on for the bees to feed on in August once you have removed the honey crop, but make sure they have water available. They do not always clean them out and annoyingly sometimes they then start to fill the half emptied frames with more nectar, which will of course also crystallize. It is also possible to score the cappings and then soak the frame until the stores have dissolved and then feed this dilute honey back to the bees. (make sure you feed this back to the hive you took it from).
The Zoom talk by Barbara Dalby on Apitherapy occasioned some lively discussion with the suggestion that people should look into this more thoroughly before undertaking some of the suggested therapies.
Next month we are hoping to have more lively discussion as members bring their current concerns and ideas to our next Zoom meeting.
Regards, and stay safe and well,