Join our mailing list! Enter your email address in the box below to be kept up to date!
The MUBKA meets on the second Friday of every month at 8.00pm in Loughry college
2013 Honey Bee Husbandry Survey
Please take a few minutes to complete the AFBI survey
Queen Rearing Lecture
Mrs Ethel Irvine spoke about large loses of bee colonies in Fermanagh and throughout Ireland this Spring and attributed this to last year's bad weather which resulted in Queens not having been mated properly.
She told us that Queen Rearing was not difficult - getting Queens mated was! Mrs Irvine then gave reasons for rearing our own queens.
Mainly for good temper, laying qualities, expansion of colony numbers, optimising honey production, need to re-queen if no queen or faulty queen and lastly because a young queen is needed for overwintering every 2 years.The best time to rear queens is when the colony is crowded, normal swarming weather with plenty of pollen.
Mrs Irvine explained the process of getting eggs/larvae and showed members tools which she used. She had very kindly made out a written "Queen Rearing Timetable" and members were given a copy to keep. She ended her presentation by giving different methods of introducing the Queen.
MUBKA 2013 Honey Show
The MUBKA honey show held at Loughry this year was judged by Mr Cecil McMullan ably assisted by James Crawford.
A big thank you to everyone who exhibited which in light of the poor year was an extremely good turnout.
The Supreme Honey Award and the Best Exhibit in Show were both won by Alan Abraham and big congratulations go to him. Congratulations also go to William Haffey for overall show winner with most points.
The full list of category winners can be downloaded here Honey show results 2013.
Home made Creams
Mrs Kathleen Hughes spoke at the September MUBKA meeting on the subject of home made creams and soaps using products from the beehive. Kathleen described how each of creams was made using a wide variety of common and less well known ingredients. From simple hair treatments consisting of only a mixture of honey and olive oil to revitalising face masks and dry skin treatments using essential oils, cucumber, grated beeswax and various seed oils.
Kathleen encouraged the audience to try the mixtures for themselves as they had taken the place of commercial soaps and creams in her home with great success. Recipes can be obtained by contacting the club.
If you are lucky enough to have taken surplus honey from your bees this year you will need an extractor like the one pictured here owned by our club. This machine spins the comb at high speed causing the honey to run out of the comb and collect at the bottom of the machine. The honey is then filtered and jarred. All the fine flavours and local pollens are retained giving local honey its unique taste and health benefits.
Bayvarol and Apistan ResistantVarroa
Are you still using Bayvarol or Apistan as your sole means of Varroa treatment? Have you checked for resistance?
Varroa mites are known to show resistance to the active ingredients in the two registered pyrethroid treatments Flumethrin (Bayvarol) and Fluvalinate (Apistan). Resistant mites have been known to exist in England since 2002 (Thompson et al. 2002). However, their presence was only confirmed in Northern Ireland in 2011 by AFBI. Annual honey bee husbandry results from that year indicated that 92% of beekeepers in N.I. had not checked for pyrethroid resistance (AFBINI 2011 report).
Resistance can arise from the misuse of pyrethroid treatments such as long term continual use or overdosing. It can be identified by reduced mite fall and therefore the presence of high numbers of mites weakening the colony at its most susceptible time going through winter.
Testing honey bees for resistance is therefore critical if you use pyrethroids and is carried out by AFBI. The lab requires a sample of 200 live bees with known Varroa infestation to be sent to Sam Clawson, Entomology Laboratory, Newforge Lane, Belfast BT9 5PX. The bees must arrive alive to the lab within 24 hours of collection. You can deliver in person or send by first class post. It would be best to have them well parcelled to minimise buzzing and so avoid rejection by postal workers.
If you have any queries, please contact John Hill (Tel. 07741222662 or 02894453892).
John Ross demonstrated at the April meeting how to make a simple beewax candle from filtered wax cappings he collected during the previous year. An ingenious wax melter/pourer fashioned from a honey jar (which he assured us could be used left or right handed) held the pieces of wax before melting in a water bath. Keeping the temperature to around 70oC he poured the wax into molds sprayed with silicone grease to allow easy removal of the candle. It is important not to heat the wax higher than this temperature or the wax may crack when it cools - or you can start a fire!
John mentioned the importance of using the correct diameter of wick for the size of candle you are making - too thick and the wax flows down the sides whilst too thin the candle will burn down the middle leaving a ridge of wax.
Whilst the candles were cooling Ernie Watterson provided us with a short talk on queen rearing using the Cupkit system. Although the system appears straightforward, grafting larvae into the cell holders may be the quickest and least invasive way to start queen cells. Plans are being made to demonstrate grafting in early summer - watch this space.
By the end of autumn you should have been feeding copious amounts of heavy syrup (2kg sugar dissolved in 1L water). Feeding syrup should cease before temperatures drop too far - October at the latest. If syrup is fed after this point the bees will struggle to reduce the water content of the syrup resulting in fermented stores and ultimately a danger of dysentery in the bees.
If you are worried that the hive is still light on stores then fondant can be placed above the feedhole in a clear plastic container with a hole cut for access in the lid. Fondant placed directly on top of the feedhole or the frames can run between the frames leaving a sticky mess.
You want this to be the walls where it can run down away from the bees and not the roof where it would drip onto the bees below. If you use an open mesh floor it is advisable to leave the insert out over winter so that moisture can escape from the hive and wax debris does not build up.