This blog post is about the School for Bees scheme at Broom Leys Primary School  
First hive visits in 2021 
The first visit of the year takes place in January. I like the idea of visiting the bees soon after Plough Monday. Plough Monday is generally the first Monday after Twelfth Day (Epiphany), 6th January. References to Plough Monday date back to the late 15th century. Traditionally this day saw the resumption of work after the Christmas period in some areas, particularly in northern England and East England 
This is a excellent time to check the bee hives. I look for a day that is somewhere about 7 to 10°C, and dry. At this temperature the bees are active in the hive but not able to readily fly. 
I feel the weight of the hive (heft). Heavy hive means lots of honey. Light means the hive is short of honey and the bees will starve before the spring flowers are available. If the hive is light I give them food in the form of fondant. Its like the icing on cake but wetter and softer.  
Honeybees suffer from a parasitic mite called Varroa Destructor. The mites need live brood to reproduce. There is no brood at this time of year so the mites over winter feeding on the bees. We treat the bees with sugar syrup laced with Oxalic Acid. Oxalic Acid (OA) is derived for Rhubarb leaves. It is why you so not eat Rhubarb leaves. OA kills the mites as they have no brood to hide away from the treatment.  
To finish we check for damage by Green Woodpeckers and check that Field Mice have not sneaked into the hive. 
Click HERE for a link to a short video of you bees. It is short because we do not want the bees to get cold.  
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Tagged as: School for Bees
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