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Honey tasting

When it gets a bit colder and there is less to do in the hives bee keepers seem to gather inside more. We were invited to the annual honey tasting the other day. Everyone bring a jar with no labels for tasting. Its blind so nobody knows whose jar belongs to who. Honey is marked on taste, colour, appearance (might be crystallised for example) and aroma. There are two categories - set and runny.

You get a little stick - looked suspiciously like a Starbucks coffee stirrer to me - to dip into the jar and see what you think, then you mark the jars on a piece of paper and drop into a box. The winner is the jar with the overall highest score. Every year a supermarket brand is included to trick the bee keepers and see if they are true to pure non blended honey!!


 Honey set out for tasting


Blind labels












It was a great event. The honey was lovely though after a few jars you really appreciated the Wasabi nuts to refresh the palate, though it was easy to overdose on those too. 

Who won? Out of all…
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We think we have Varroa....

So, last time I said we hadn't seen any Varroa on the bees. Mmmm, so I shouldn't have said that aloud because nearly the very next day there was one! I like to think it was just one, you know like there is only ever just the one rat in the garden or one lonely mouse in your kitchen?

But off we went into overdrive to eradicate (it will be too late) varroa in our hive. Taking some advice from a nice lady at Thornes (feel free to sponsor or advertise on my blog, Thornes!) whose job is to be a Bee Expert, we ordered Apistan to put into the hive.

You might remembered that we said we should have treated in August so Apistan is the treatment you can give a bit later in the year. It is a sheet of sticky plastic that hangs in between the frames giving off a pesticide. Sounds awful right? It is the least scary of the ones we researched, apart from treating with icing sugar but we were too late for that.

Icing sugar can be used for varroa because the bees are sprinkled with it and then t…

Varroa Mites

Varroa mite is a problem for bee colonies and something bee keepers all become aware of really fast. Their actual name is Varroa Destructor which gives you a bit of an idea of just how devastating having Varroa can be. Everywhere in the world, except Australia, has Varroa, and it first appeared in Devon, UK. If colonies have Varroa they will die if you don't treat it.  The mites hide in an uncapped cell and then feed on the brood food and then begin to nibble the larvae itself transferring disease and causing defects. The defects caused are most commonly deformed wings but could also be stunted growth and other problems.
Varroa mites emerge with the new bee, hanging on to its back. The mites then  begin the cycle again by entering a new cell and laying eggs there. 



This is Varroa Mite on a larvae.



This is Varroa Mite on a bee. They look pretty obvious and easy to spot.














I haven't seen any on our bees. However we have bees with deformed wings. This is really worrying so despite …

Feeding the bees

Whilst we were away our apiary manager looked at the bees for us and recommended we feed them a bit more sugar solution. If forage is low we need to make sure that there is food available for the bees to build up for the winter so that they survive.

Winter talk already! I'm only just into Autumn! School term has started, the little one has begun school for the first time and we are shortly to be in the full sway of music practice, swimming, gymnastics, ballet, cubs and rainbows. Luckily the bees don't take much time as they are much less demanding right now. I might live to regret having said that.









Workng, Working, Working

since its summer the busiest bees in the hive are the workers. I didn't realise until recently that there are 5 different types of worker bees. Though knowing this does mean that Bee Movie know makes more sense to me.

It depends on age, different jobs depending on skills and knowledge I guess, the more familiar you are with how things work the greater the opportunities there are. I think when reviewing this structure it also depends on strength and resistance.

Here is how it works