It’s winter at the bee colony. A quiet, peaceful time for urban beekeeper Erica. But that doesn’t keep her from being active. In this month’s update, she tells us about beekeeper activities during January.
“January is a very calm month. Every now and then I check up on the hives, but that is all the contact I have with the bees right now. It is terribly quiet in the apiary during winter. The wind howls around the hives and the garden is devoid of anything growing. There is nothing to do but wait and hope the bees will survive the winter.
What I have to do with the bees, though, is to give them a treatment against the parasitic mite “Varroa destructor”. This parasite invades a beehive and nests in the brood. It will feed on the “blood” (hemolymph) of the larvae, pupae and adult bees, causing the affected bees to be weakened. This nasty mite originates from Asia, but has found it’s way around the entire earth by now. With a treatment, I will protect my hives from being invaded.
That being done, there is still plenty of time left to tackle other chores. I’m currently designing a label for the Spring Honey, I would like to make a new business card and there are some other ideas floating through my head that I am going work on. And apart from all that, I have a bit of time left to catch up on reading some literature.
I know that some beekeepers use this time of the year to start a course in basket/beehive weaving. Some just out of curiosity, but some may also want to keep bees in a hand woven hive, instead of a regular one. These woven hives are very authentic. In former times, bees were kept in hives made of straw or bunt grass while the outside would be covered in manure or clay. I recently came across these hives at an exposition, showing how they were transported by bike, with the bees still in the hives!
Next week a fellow beekeeper and me will be making a list of chores for the next months, so that everything will be ready when the ladies emerge from their hives again.”
Are you also waiting for winter to pass by, just like Erica’s bees? Why not make some home-made granola in the meantime? You could even use Erica’s honey for that!