bee social bee prepared event with bee together 2015 01 13

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  • Bee Together

    Bee Social - Bee Prepared Meeting 13 January 2015

    Table 1: Session for People Intending to Set Up a Beehive in 2015 Led by Joe Molitor

    The participants at the table were: Barbara Fischer, Kerry Goergen-Todd, Priit Rohusaar, David Xavier

    Summary written by Kerry Goergen-Todd and reviewed by John and Hubert.

    Introductions and Sharing Beehives A group of 3 participants will be sharing bee hives, which are already under the care of one of the

    group, a man from Roodt-Syre (or in that area). He has some experience already, has 2 hives and his

    two friends will be joining him now and sharing the care. They are also expecting to acquire more

    colonies in spring 2015.

    Priit had hives in Estonia and would like to continue with beekeeping in Luxembourg. He moved here

    recently and is living in the city limits. He inherited the colonies in Estonia when he bought a house

    there so they were already well established hives and he share some of his experiences.

    Generally, our discussion was more of an introductory round with each of us sharing our how did you

    get into beekeeping stories.

    Mentoring We discussed mentoring, who to ask for help and for Priit the biggest worry was where would he be

    able to keep his bees often a problem for people living in the city or in built-up areas. We

    recommended talking to foresters or farmers, though this is quite easy when you live out in the

    countryside but for people in the city it is a bit of an issue who you consult when looking for

    somewhere to keep your bees. Joe did mention that finding a place would never be a problem but we

    had to admit that for someone that is not in the Luxembourgish bee clubs it can be much trickier,

    obviously due to language and access to the contact details.

    Varroa and Winter Preparation We discussed how we had treated our bees for Varroa and prepared them for winter and also shared

    our worries whether our colonies will make it through the winter.

    There is some information on varroa here which will be updated in late February 2015.

    If you are interested in hearing more about varroa and bees, you may be interested in the annual bee

    conference in FR and DE on varroa sensitive hygiene:

    Bee Informed - Annual Conference - 28me Colloque apicole international

    Sunday, March 29, 2015 from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

    Please register.

  • Bee Together Bee Social - Bee Prepared Meeting 13 January 2015 2

    Table 2: I intend to come to the Theory Courses and Start a Beehive in 2015 Led by Andreas Reichart

    The participants at the table were: Monica Andersson, Christian Bintener, Carol McCarthy, Laura and

    Gianfranco Margaria Picchietti (Picchi)

    Summary written by Carol McCarthy and reviewed by John and Hubert.

    What causes varroa to be worse in some years than others? Varroa are worse in years when spring comes early, so in 2014 spring was very early and in 2014 the

    varroa were much worse than in 2013 when spring was cold and very late. When spring is early the

    varroa mite has a longer season to develop and spread.

    What are the best ways to control the varroa mite? Answer: a three pronged summer attack followed by winter treatment

    a) Cut drone brood out of frames before they hatch. Varoa particularly like drone brood and enter it

    before it's capped. By cutting it out (i.e. removing the infected drones from the hive) this prevents the

    varroa surviving on the hatched drone and thus reduces the infestation in the hive early in the season.

    b) Treat new brood frames before they are capped with either 3.5% oxalic acid or 15% lactic acid (both

    products are considered organic). Only when you make new colonies, treat them after 4 weeks when

    the new queen is laying and also feed the colony. The colony will start with only with few varroas.

    c) Treat after honey harvest at the end of July / beginning August.

    Depending on the size of the colony, a tube filled with up to 300ml of formic acid (Nassenheider

    classic). The tube is positioned diagonally in the hive, so that with the warmth from the bees it

    evaporates. Leave it there for 11-12 days. Feed after this treatment (do not treat for 14 days) and then

    repeat the whole process for a second time. You can use also dispenser which you put on the top of

    the frames (Liebig Dispenser or Nassenheider Professional).

    d) Winter treatment. On 21 December or a day or two later or before (when it's 1-2C) take a syringe

    filled with 50ml of oxalic acid and drip this solution onto the bees in the gaps between the frames.

    It is best to work with an experienced beekeeper to have a practical session to see how to apply these


    What made my colony leave the hive in the autumn/early winter? There are a some

    dead bees but not the whole colony, where have they gone and why? Probably the colony was heavily infested with varroa (and with virus) and they left to go and die

    somewhere away from the hive.

  • Bee Together Bee Social - Bee Prepared Meeting 13 January 2015 3

    How should I now clean and prepare the hive for the new season? The frames must be dewaxed with a steam cleaning process. The inside of the hive (if they are

    wooden) should be flamed till it is brown but not burnt and black. This treatment will ensure the hive is

    rid of any disease or mites. Otherwise you can use hot 3% sodium hydroxide solution.

    Table 3: I intend to come to the Theory Courses and I Would Like to Work with

    a Mentor Led by Hubert von Dewitz

    The participants at the table were: Evgenia Balamoti, Steve Brabbs, Annemie Debackere, Crista Filip,

    Amanda Surbey, Tiffany Vickers, Guillaume Pier

    Summary written by Steve Brabbs and reviewed by Evgenia, Hubert and John.

    Hubert who has 10 hives of Langstroth with local bees.

    Beekeeping Federation FUAL Federation of Luxembourg Beekeeping Clubs has about 300 members and it is divided into 12 regional

    groups based on the different Cantons / Communes. The local clubs (i.e. Cantons) can offer advice

    and mentoring and can help you find a place to keep bees if you dont have a place.

    Where can you have a hive? A beehive should be at least 10 m from a neighbours boundary in residential areas, or there has to be

    a hedge or solid fence at least 2 m high. You should be a good neighbour and talk to them if there are

    problems. It is best if they face south or south-east to catch the early sun and get the hive warmed up

    in the morning. They should be protected from winds and should not be in the bottom of a valley or

    depression where cold air can collect.

    Following this meeting, Hubert clarified the requirements about obtaining permission to have a beehive.

    In all cases you should obtain a permit to have bees whether they are in a city/village or in the

    countryside - see the end of this document.

    What bee races are kept in Luxembourg? The honeybee in latin is Apis mellifera.

    An indigenous bee to Europe is the black bee (mellifera), but they have the reputation as being quite

    aggressive so is only kept by particular enthusiasts. Another indigenous bee to Europe is the Carnica

    (carnica) bee from Austria and Italian (ligustica) bees. A hybrid, called Buckfast, created by a German

    monk at Buckfast Abbey in England, is very popular. Buckfast bees breed fast, have high honey

    production and dont swarm often.

    Local bees are bees where the queen has been fertilised by whatever males (drones). That is, the

    queen has not been artificially inseminated by humans to produce a pure race or a Buckfast.

    When do bees swarm? Bees swarm when they outgrow the hive so you have to add supers (wooden boxes) to give them

    more space. A grill (the queen excluded) separates the brood box where the larva are, from the honey

    supers so the queen cant get in to lay eggs in the honey supers. When a super is added, you can put

  • Bee Together Bee Social - Bee Prepared Meeting 13 January 2015 4

    in a few frames with bits of honey left in it to encourage the bees to go up into it. Sometimes a colony

    can become aggressive or increase their tendency to swarm through breeding with other bees in the

    area, so then you might have to change the queen to get back to the pure strain.

    Where do you get hives, queens, equipment etc, and how much does it cost? 30 years ago you had to build your own hives from plans and there was little or no help. Now there are

    many different suppliers and bee clubs to help. You need plenty of space to store all the equipment,

    especially if you have your own honey extractor.

    Hives cost about 150-200 or you can get self-assembly kits which are cheaper. Then you need sting

    proof overall/hood (50), gloves (20), a smoker (30) and a few tools. The price of a colony of bees

    will depend on the season and you can usually get them from other local bee keepers who have

    swarms. You can reckon ~300 for a hive and colony. If you want a honey extractor, that would be

    500 - 800.

    A list of beekeepers who supply bees is here. A list of Buckfast suppliers is here. Carnica contact

    What kind of hives are there? There are several different designs but most used here are Deutsch Normal (tall and narrow), Dadant

    with 10 or 12 frames, Zander, and Langstroth. Deutsch Normal and Zander are easy because bro


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