The summer is well and truly over and it is time to put the bees to bed for the winter. The summer was not kind to the bees, mainly due to the inclement weather much reducing their foraging opportunities. The Rosebay Willowherb was early and passed quickly, then the heather blossomed in the rain! The saving grace might just have been the Himalayan Balsam which is still coming in, and hopefully there will be some good weather for the ivy, the final crop of the season. The bees have managed to bring in some stores but beekeepers will need to ensure that their bees have sufficient stores to see them through the winter – a standard colony requires around 35lb of honey to ensure the survive through to the spring blossoms. Early autumn is a good time to treat Varroa mites to ensure that the mite population is low over the winter.
The beekeepers were delighted to be involved in the RHET Food and Farming days at Lochinch 21st and 22nd September. Around 250 youngsters from Stranraer Academy and Douglas Ewart High School, along with teachers and RHET volunteers, heard all about bees, the beehive, pollination and the waggle dance (and a few joined in the waggle dance!), honey and honey tasting. A brilliant couple of days and a great opportunity to spread the word about how important bees are for the environment and our food supply.
The winter programme of meetings starts Sunday 8th October when the Scottish Beekeepers Association touring lecture will be given by Tony Harris, NBD, a bee farmer based on the Moray coast where he manages 150 hives for honey production and the sale of queens and nuclei. Tony’s topic will be Queen Rearing and Selection. He has been selecting and rearing local queens on the Moray coast for several years and he will share his experience in selecting queens to breed from, his queen rearing set up and the use of mini mating hives.
This meeting is open to all beekeepers and anyone interested in bees and beekeeping. Glenluce Bowling Club, Glenluce, Sunday 8th October starting at 7pm. All welcome.