Mark your equipment using UV ink and your postcode.
Bees can find nectar and pollen on Ivy (Hedera Helix); the honey produced is high
in glucose and granulates in the comb.
A hive entrance of 8 mm deep and 10 cm wide will allow the bees to leave and return
freely, remove bodies and debris, and keep out mice.
If you have a wire mesh floor place a 1mm thick piece of plastic the size of your
floor 50 mm under the hive to catch varroa falling through the mesh. Leave the plastic
in for three days only each month. Wax moth will be less of a problem. If you find
varroa on the plastic (4 mites per day) and desire to treat with oxalic acid, an
oxalic acid solution of 3% in a 50/50 sugar /water solvent can be trickled between
combs at the rate of 4-6 ml per occupied comb.
For wire mesh floors keep the cover board tight to the brood box and do not break
the propolis seal before March unless treating with oxalic acid. Feeding at Christmas
is not necessary if each hive had 18 kg of stores at the end of September.
Place a block of 50 mm thick polystyrene the size of the cover board on top of the
cover board under the roof to prevent heat loss.
Keep the roof from being blown off with two house bricks or a paver, or wire the
hive to the stand.
Remove the queen excluders.
If you keep your bees in a single brood box, a super underneath will help with ventilation.
Drawn comb in the super will give extra storage space for food so place this in position
before you feed.
Inspect the brood frames in store for wax moth. Wax moth eggs and grubs will be killed
if the frames are left overnight in the freezer.
If not already done, remove chemical varroa treatments such as Apistan .
Clean queen excluders in cold weather using a wire brush to remove brace comb and
Read books on queen rearing and plan to practise this for the huge advantage given
when you have a spare queen in May.