Milborne Port

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Milborne Port Community Apiary

beehive-162015 1280Milborne Port apiary was started about 7 years ago as a community project. Four of us take care of the apiary and we would welcome anybody who is interested in beekeeping to join us. The main purpose of the apiary is to benefit the environment but we harvest a small amount of honey each year. During the spring and summer, we need to inspect the colonies every week to check for disease and to take measures to avoid swarming (not very successfully last year unfortunately).

We meet at the apiary usually at 2.30 on Fridays. During the winter, equipment needs to be inspected and cleaned, and we have a small kitty to fund new equipment, fondant and varroa treatments.

Now at the end of February, signs of spring have been around for several weeks and the Early Bumble Bee queens can be seen preparing for producing their broods. Our weather here is not harsh but the continual downpours do not entice our other pollinators out, Winter flowering shrubs, hellebores, snowdrops, crocuses and primroses are floral feasts on bright mild days but our honey bees seem content with their supply of fondant, topping up their honey stores.

Usually honey bee colonies are treated for varroa infestation in the middle of winter, when there is little or no larvae in the hive. Mites damage the developing bees at the larval stage and oxalic acid treatment can destroy most of the infestation when the queen is inactive. However, the queens have continued to lay throughout our recent warm winters and this year we have not treated with oxalic acid. It remains to be seen whether this is will be detrimental to the bees’ health when we inspect in the spring. So far, from checking the fondant, there are bees in our 4 hives and we will be able to observe whether pollen is being taken in when they start foraging in earnest, an indication of a laying queen. As soon as the weather is warm enough, we will begin our full inspections.

If you are interested in joining us and getting some hands-on beekeeping experience, please contact either Pam on 250654; Gill on 251022; or Jan on 251451.

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