The last Monday of November was the last meeting we will have of the year as we don't have meetings in December. The meetings main part was a presentation by our association's president who is also the regional Bee inspector for the North East of England. The subject was about giving your bees the best start possible to start the new year.
We were asked when the beekeeping season really started or was it more dynamic than simply having a start and end date. Does the bee season run from spring to spring, winter to winter or even from when the Queen starts laying to when she finishes laying.
We also discussed winter mite treatments which include oxalic acid. This treatment is applied when the Queen had stopped laying and there is no brood present. It involves putting small amounts of diluted acid mixed in sugar syrup directly on the bees. This will kill the mites but not affect the bees. The treatment comes either in crystal form or in a pre made solution. This year I have bought a pre made solution as this will be easier for me.
The presentation also included various graphs showing how quickly the mite population can increase if not treated. It showed the difference between starting the season with only a few mites compared with about 50 and over 100. With only a few it takes a really long time for the mite population to get to really dangerous levels but with 100 mites it takes much less time. Even with 50 it takes a lot less time than with over 100.
Another thing we were shown was a map of our region showing where the different foul brood diseases have been detected over the last few years. Luckily there were no major outbreaks of either disease near to my apiary, though I will still have to be very vigilant for they can be devastating and you have to report any signs of either disease.
The meetings was finished as usual with a raffle, though as I'd forgot my wallet that was out of the question! I did get offered a cup of tea by a fella that lives close to me, we have since swapped details so the meetings in the new year we will be able to car share.