We thought it is about time that you were updated on what is happening with Plot Bee. It may seem that nothing much is happening with the hive still in place and no additions have been added to it. Well, that would seem to be the case but in fact some things have been happening.
What has been happening?
For a start the Bees are still there. They have not left us, despite all our fumbling around having a look at them, and they have remained fairly calm with our intrusions. On some of these inspection days a lot of people seem to take an interested in what was happening, taking photographs and having a look. Some have suited up and got a close look at the inside of the hive.
Why was there no honey?
It is only a small colony of a few thousand bees. A full hive usual has up to 50,000 bees in one hive. The queen is only young, born this year, we think judging by her size when she first arrived. There has been some increase in the size of the colony and we hope that next year will see a vast increase in the numbers, which we hope will involve another hive being created on-site. RitaMary and I decided that we should leave any honey in the brood box for the bees to have for themselves over the winter. This is as a thank you for staying with us and also to reduce the feeding that may need to be done over the winter. This is all weather dependent. A cold winter will see them conserve the honey and pollen. Now, we still may need to feed them early next year to give them a boost when it comes to breeding time.
What is going to happen in the future?
This depends on you and your support.
Support the bees by being involved, whether is it by planting early spring bulbs, summer or late autumn flowers. This will benefit not only the bees but other pollinators. Some plot holders have started to do work on this already. If you want more hands-on experience then enrol in a course. I have mentioned in earlier emails, Fingal North Dublin Bee Keepers Association hold there Spring course in February. Contact them and see if there are placed left. I believe a number of plot holders have enrolled in this course and are eagerly waiting to start.
To keep the momentum going, I will arrange another meeting of the bee group. In this meeting I hope to have a small display of bee equipment on display. I hope that the response to this meeting will be better than the first as only 3 out of 12 people who expressed an interest attended.
We are planning to expand the number of hives by way of purchasing or getting a donation of a new colony. We have also got a grant from Fingal County Council for approx. € 600. In order to get the full amount of this grant we have to purchase equipment to the value of approx. €1,200. This is a sizeable amount of expenditure for the association, so we would expect your support and interest in the bees to make this worthwhile.
So, what is now happening to the bees?
They are slowly bunkering down for the winter. They have been busy over the last few weeks gathering ivy pollen for the winter. It seems that the ivy pollen has been good this year. To tell you the truth I never knew that ivy gave pollen. See you learn something new everyday.
They have had 2 treatments for the varroa mite. Varroa mite is one of the parasites that is being blamed for the demise of bees. We used Apiguard which is a Thymol based product. Thymol is derived from the herb Thyme. The first treatment was for 2 weeks and the second for 4 weeks for adult and new bees respectively.
We are going to obtain a small sample of bees to be sent for testing. They will be tested for any signs of disease. The sample will be approx. 25 bees which sounds a lot, but with a colony of thousands it should not have an impact. The same will be done again in the spring when the new brood comes along.
I hope that the above brings you up-to-date on what is happening and what we hope to achieve over the new few months. The main achievement will be to get them over the winter, in good health and breeding well.
Please give us your support.