Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spanish Seasons End

Well my Spanish beekeeping season is coming to a close. I brought back the swarm that took over the Layens hive on my porch from the out apiary and put it into the home apiary. They seem to be flying well this morning. I also put warre style entrance restrictors on all the casts that have been hived. At the moment there is plenty of forage but when the dearth starts, these casts will probably still not be up to full strength so a reduced entrance will help them defend better. Then there are the wasp problem in autumn that they will also have to defend. I have had bees abscond before because of battles with wasps and hornets. The two TBH's that are at the side of my garage have no real shade from the hot sun so I have laid 6 concrete roof tiles over the top of each roof plate for extra insurance. My next week will just be observing entrances and watching bees coming and going and little else to do. It will be interesting to see how many make it through to November. These bees have never been treated with anything since October 2007, not even powdered sugar. Yes they have Varroa and it doesn't seem to be a problem for them as yet. I am hoping the hygienic behavior I have witnessed is a sign that these bees can tolerate varroa to some extent. As long as I only make increase from the survivors instead of bringing in new genetics, this trend should only increase. I am quite prepared to lose quite a few of these colonies with the belief that those that do survive will have the resistance I am looking for.
As my Spanish beekeeping season ends, my Swedish beekeeping season starts[big grin]. I was worried that perhaps my Swedish bees may have not made it through the long cold winter but my in-laws, did a quick visit to my house in Sweden last week-end and I had asked them to look for flying bees behind the barn if the weather was warm enough. Lots of bees flying there, so at least one of my two colonies have made it through. It makes me laugh when I hear some beekeepers that say bees can't survive without good management. Good management, in their heads being constant inspections, dosing hives with all sorts of chemicals and robbing them of their honey and substituting sugar syrup. On the contrary, my minimalist approach of leaving them much to themselves, not treating with anything and leaving them with enough stores seems to be working.

1 comment:

  1. The only "good" management for a bee colony is already being provided by the bees. We provide little more than disruption to them.

    Good to hear about the Swedish colonies.