Varroa mite treatment for the Beehaus and French honey for my belly
There's a lot of buzz around at the moment about what is causing bee deaths and colonies to collapse. As research into these various causes continue and possible treatments are experimented with bees, one threat that we can control to a certain extent is the varroa mite. These nasty little creatures are prevalent all over the UK and all hives are affected to a greater or lesser extent. If the beekeeper does not take care and treat their bees, the varroa mite infestation will get too great and eventually the whole colony will die. (I won't bore you with all the details about varroa but if you are interested, take a read of this).
An effective treatment for varroa is Apiguard, however other methods are being introduced such as the MAQs strips. Essentially Apiguard is a slow release gel that comes in a tray, which is placed on the top of the frames (like the image above). It's completely harmless as it's all natural, derived from the plant thyme, but it seems to kill the pesky varroa mites. It's a 4 week/2 tray action plan - I'm currently in week 2 at the moment.
Good news from my visit on Monday is that my bees don't seem to be hating me as much as they were. They are still a bit rowdy but nothing like my previous few visits. So perhaps, as some beekeepers suggested, it was a wasp issue as there have been quite a lot around this year.
The homemade wasp trap I put down next to the Beehaus on my last visit seems to be working (if you look carefully you can see a few wasps floating in the trap on the right). I also bought a new trap with me this time - essentially a water bottle cut in half with a sugary solution at the bottom. Wasps happily fall in but the bees aren't that stupid.
Also, having chatted to some fellow beekeepers, I've decided to leave Queen Pippa for now especially as the bees were better behaved on this visit. The last thing I want is to go into the winter with a brand new queen and for whatever reason the bees don't accept her.
Although, my bees have unfortunately not produced any honey this year due to the issues I had earlier on in the season, I managed to stock up on a load of French honey whilst touring round Brittany last week. Now, from the pic below, you may think this will see me through a few months, but I have made significant inroads into the six jars already. The one on the far left I loved so much that I had to buy two!
The jar on the right is very special indeed. I bought it from a beekeeper at a market in Bayeax and I noticed that the label had noisettes on it. Now although my French is pretty crap (aka non-exisitent) I know that this means nuts so I asked him whether the bees forage on a nut tree of some sort. He said no, it's a honey and hazelnut concoction that's so good you'd have to lock it away. He wasn't kidding either - it tastes just like a Nutella, but better. I've had to hide it away from my husband - who knows when I'll be going to France again!!