monthly beekeeping guide?

posted Apr 22, 2018, 12:54 AM by Tim Birdsall   [ updated Apr 27, 2018, 12:23 AM by Unknown user ]

Q: Where can I find a monthly guide as to the activities we should be undertaking with our bees in the West of Ireland?  ~ Orville Cuff, Farrenmacfarrel, 27th April 2018

The Mayo Beekeepers Association offers a nifty guide to this here

sugar syrup or fondant?

posted Apr 22, 2018, 12:53 AM by Tim Birdsall   [ updated Apr 27, 2018, 12:23 AM by Unknown user ]

 Q:  Why do we feed fondant over winter but just sugar syrup in the summer months?  ~ Barbara Bierach, Sligo 25th April 2018

A:  Fondant, whilst slightly more costly than simple sugar dissolved in water, is better for your bees during winter, when they are more lethargic and conserving energy, because they can eat it directly rather than having to convert it into honey.  A couple of bags of fondant can be worth their weight in gold if they mean the difference in survival or otherwise for an over-wintering colony!

first inspection

posted Apr 22, 2018, 12:52 AM by Tim Birdsall   [ updated Apr 27, 2018, 12:24 AM by Unknown user ]

Q:  it is April and spring is late in the West of Ireland!  Is it too early to make a first inspection? ~ Ivan McGee, Dromore West, 20th April 2018

A:  Ideally, inspections should only be carried out when the ambient temperature reaches 15 degrees but you can even briefly check hives in winter when the temperature rises over 10.  We have a simple thermometer affixed to each of our apiaries to indicate this, or you can google the local temperature on your phone.  However, it is important to understand the health of your colonies so a very quick inspection should now be made - look for signs of eggs & capped brood for indications that your queens are healthy and active then close the hive but wait for warmer temperatures before a full and detailed search.

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