Hygiene is a hot topic at the moment and I just want to follow up on my mention of it earlier in the month.  Nothing to do with the current situation but the greatest danger of the spread of disease between your colonies is you - the beekeeper!

While some recommendations suggest hygiene is important between apiaries, my strong belief is that it is important between hives. EFB can easily be spread from one colony to the next if you don’t adhere to some basic hygiene measures. 

A lidded bucket - an old honey bucket would be OK - containing washing soda, hot water (at least when you start out!) and a dash of washing up liquid is the ideal with a couple of green scrubbers (sponge backed).   In between hives wash your hands, or gloves if you wear them, and scrub your hive tool in this solution.  The washing soda will release the propolis from all surfaces too and you can move to the next colony as free of potential trouble as possible. 

A disposable shower cap or maybe some cling film are useful additions to cover the bellows of your smoker, making sure you don’t cover the air hole at the bottom. This you can wipe off between colonies and more importantly dispose of and use fresh for each apiary.  

You’ve now done all you can to protect your bees from you!

Our April edition contains a run down of pretty much all the small (non-hive) equipment you need to carry in your beekeeping kit.  Did you know that you can buy single copies of BeeCraft online? Here is the link if you’re interested.  

The weather seems to have taken a turn for the better (long may it last!) and our bees were active and bringing in pollen today.  They have obviously found a great supply of nectar as the hives were heavy.  Not the case everywhere though, as I heard yesterday of an association apiary where there is a huge difference in the colonies from double brood needing a super added to a large single brood desperately in need of being fed or they will starve.  It doesn’t seem to make sense does it!

We have taken clean equipment to the apiary, ready and waiting for us to transfer the bees into so they start the season with everything fresh, including some lovely extracted comb that will just require a little clean up by the bees before the queen can start laying in them.  The worst of the dirty comb will be replaced and we intend to give all our colonies a brood break in a month or so as our means of varroa control.  However, before that we will need to relocate some of our colonies from a second apiary and bring them closer to home

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