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What's been happening at the club in 2016.

Photos by Nick Thorp.

Other years


A slightly brisk day but still feeling like autumn, good discussions were had around hive construction, parts and placement.
Still no sign of winter at all which begs the question, do your bees need varroa treatment again?
With the mild conditions a fair amount of pollen is being brought into the hives, this means that the brood rearing is still going ahead quite well and therefore the varroa will be breeding faster too.

bee on hebe flower collecting nectar bee on hazel nut catkins collecting pollen  varroa on bee

Please check varroa levels and feed levels, if we have winter weather when the calendar gets to spring time then we could be looking at a lot of hive losses.


With the success of the first two training days, the format of the booklet was revised so that as people came to training days they would be able to accumulate a note and referance book over the next 2 years. now just 21 more lessons left to compile.

A rather cold day not suitable for opening hives at all even though winter hasnt really arrived form a weather point of view.


bees defending their hive entrance  a group of people in the workshop
The bees were still robbing today so we did not open the hives. Alan, our President, talked about the different types of allergic reactions people can have to bee stings as well as covering the use of adrenaline in severe anaphylaxis cases.

beehive silhouette with setting sun
With the days getting shorter, colder and the sun lower in the sky we need to keep an eye on feed levels for the winter thats coming.


Today was the first of our "newbie" training days and was held at Bruces place in Fernside. A generally lovely day with discussions around feeder types and asking the ultimate question "why to you really want to be a beekeeper?"

The training morning concluded with a social byo lunch in the sun and a cuppa.


Robbing season has started in Clarkville..... Be aware that bees can get into any gap of 4mm or greater, so keep a good lid on anything that smells like honey. If you are using bee escapes to get the bees out of the honey boxes use masking tape on any gaps otherwise all the honey will get robbed out in a quick fashion.
flying bees landing in great numbers in a honey box that has just been placesclose up of bees fighting and robbing

Anything with honey or wax on it that isn't covered gets mauled. Make sure you move efficiently and keep things covered top and bottom. The bees are more than happy to fly or crawl, up or down to get at honey or sugar and will fight (even from the same hive) to get it.

using a hive tool to separate the frames before removalusing the hook end of a hive tool to lift a framerogue comb sticking frames together

Sometimes it can be difficult removing frames due to propolis build up or in this case, rogue comb. Separating frames gently and properly before removal is key to not damaging the woodware and also reducing the number of bees killed. Mark any boxes where there is a rebate at the top or the bee space underneath the frames is too large and when the robbing subsides these boxes can be replaced and then trimmed to size for future use.

Checking the amount of brood and its location in the brood chamberwearing goves while handeling miticite treatements is important

Before applying your varroa treatments you need to determine the amount and location of brood, otherwise the medication may be ineffective if incorrectly placed.
Wearing gloves while handling any chemicals is very important, even if they are just nitrile gloves like these.

Despite the robbing we had a good turn out and treated the 4 club hives with Apivar, removed the excess honey (leaving a box per hive) and had some good discussions about wintering down over a cup of tea.


Well, another new year is in full flight, with February come and almost gone in the night, whats with this weather and wonder altogether, what will this winter bring along?

beekeepers crowed round an open hive
The first meeting for 2016 had a good turn out, welcoming three visitors and for those who could make it, thanks for coming along in this busy time of year.

box with uneven frame and someone adjusting themPointing out a massive top rebate in the brood box that causes excessive wax buildupusing a hivetool to clean down the sides of a bhox before removing the frame which has bur comb
While inspecting the hive we came across a few things to note. Firstly that even, square spacing of frames is important, otherwise bur comb will be built up and secondly, will need to be removed to avoid frame damage when removing the frames. Lastly here, pointing out a top recess on the box (gap above the frames) will cause lots of bur comb between boxes if you are normally using a bottom recess box.

a group inspecting the progress of a nuc that has been moved into a full sized boxa person using the sun behind them to inspect a frame more easilydrones, pollen and honey being stored in brood box and little worker brood
The nuc's that were made up before Christmas have done a little too well and have been moved into full sized boxes now. Using the light of the sun behind you makes inspecting frames a whole lot easier.
The bees in this hive seem to think Autumn has come early, packing down the brood nest with plenty of pollen and honey with small worker brood sizes and a fair few drones.

Thanks again to all who came and hopefully see some different faces next month, happy beekeeping in the meantime.

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