Our two Bee Apiaries are juggling on with the British weather; we have a mixture of Warre Beehives at 3 and 4 box high configurations.
Due to the generally colder and more unsettled bee friendly weather than last year I would say typically the bees are behind on comb and potential winter stores. However they seem active and healthy from observing landing board activity and bee behaviour.
As previous years we have carried out no Varroa treatment, not even sugar dusting. To me this is really exciting news and suggests that bees “left alone” within a Warre beehive (higher temperature than a National hive) can coexist with the Varroa mite.
I appreciate that my number of hives does not constitute proof, it would therefore be interesting to hear from other Warre Beehive keepers if they are also having success without chemicals.
Please if possible let me know before the forthcoming 2012 UK Natural Beekeeping conferences; it would be good to try and gather some numbers and opinions on this natural beekeeping subject.
My next beekeeping task is to take the now populated Bait Hive from our garden located on the garage roof (I really do not like ladders!) to one of our Apiaries. The Swarm arrived over 3 weeks ago, since them they have showed nothing but strength and bee health.
Our Bait Hive is a 2 off Warre beehive configuration; hence this takes away the rush and need to transfer the bees. We can simply strap the hive together and move when convenient. (Used Warre beehive boxes make the best bait hives. For this reason we have started selling separately Warre floor & Landing Board, Quilt box and Beehive Roof, as well as the Boxes. Please call for details).
Having a Bait Hive in the garden is also very exciting; my daughter and I have spent many a happy time watching honey bees come and go, in great anticipation of an arriving swarm. You could say it’s an excellent way to keep bees in a small garden; obviously you need an apiary of your own or friends to relocate them if your garden is not ultimately suitable or populated by small children!