Just when you thought its the end of the season!!
Beekeeping never ever really finishes, its a transition from one phase to the next as each season progresses.
Just when you think things are starting to get less busy your reminded that these are animals and they need care and careful management right up until they really are not flying.
I started treating all my bees with vaporised Oxalic Acid a little later this year than planned, but also discovered that the growth of my Apiary numbers and individual colonies add further dimensions to their subsequent management.
To be honest Vaporised Oxyalic Acid (VOA) is still my choice weapon against Varrao Mites but the logistics of treating some now 160 production colonies and some 120 Nuc for next years sales and replacements wherever needed are something else i failed to estimate the work in time and logistics.
However i did make a good time saving by investing in a better and very efficient Vaporiser called a "Sublimox"
To be brief, this machine relies on dropping a measured amount of Oxyalic Acid crystals on to an already very hot vaporiser plate or dish. The existing machine i used ( A Varrox) and still have, relies on you starting from cold, putting it in to position, then turning it on, waiting for it to heat up, then removing after about 3 minutes, cooling and repeating the process for the next colony.
You will see from the video below just how quick the new machine is. It dosent cool down between each treatment and also it extremely quick. time saving devices is something i am looking to use! i must be as efficient in my overall management.
Mite management is probably the most important issue i have to deal with during the beekeeping year. I am lucky in the fact that many beekeepers around me all treat regularly in different ways and i dont have mites jumping ship from the dead or dying colonies from non treating beekeepers.
I respect their decision not to treat however i dont welcome extra mites. Its a big issue among the beekeeping community and sparks regular heated debate.
With the final treatments (of 3 x treatments over 15 days) finished for this year. I am now having a count up. Moving nucs to new apiaries for next year and doing final autumn prep checks before it really is time to start the winter beekeeping duties.
Any colonies that are not up to sufficient weight are noted and i will give the candy before the end off January. There is not many but never the less they will need the extra feed.
Apiaries are all in line for a good cutting back and clearance where necessary but the volume of work ahead is enormous.
Theres is lots of new hives to paint up and assemble, as well as still lots of feeders and queen excluders to clean up! After that there is lots of spring prep. on Honey supers etc etc etc. the list is enormous. I am going to be very busy. Like all things you get out of beekeeping only what you put in. Organisation is key!!
Asian hornet pictures, a sequence of three pics, just to highlight the issue of summer detection. Very difficult indeed, a classic example.
The close up of the nest. not a huge one, but queens almost certainly would have dispersed to found next years colonies.
Winter planning commences! A bientôt .