With Spring nearly upon us, it's essential that you complete any outstanding cleaning of your beekeeping kit before it is used again. Hive parts will last a lot longer if they are repaired as soon as a problem appears, but if you haven't had the chance to patch things up at the time, make sure you do it soon. And remember, repairing is much easier when the parts are dry.

The branch apiary had a thorough going over this weekend as, apart from the very blustery wind, the weather was tolerable.

As well as maintenance, cleaning is essential and will reduce your chances of disease and pest problems during the year. It's important that you scrape off your wax and propolis, scrub your polystyrene kit with a suitable washing soda and bleach solution and scorch your wooden kit, particularly in the crevices, where unpleasantness may be hiding.

Useful tools for this job are a stiff wire brush, a blowtorch and although it's marketed as a Wire Excluder Cleaner, this tool is great for scraping all the flat surfaces of your wooden kit as well.

You will find separating your hive parts easier if they are not propolised together. The bees will also be calmer if there isn't a struggle to prise things apart, so floors, brood boxes, supers, ekes, queen excluders and crown boards can all have their upper and lower contact surfaces (as well as the rebate that takes the frame lugs) treated with Petroleum jelly with white spirit added as a thinner. Using the thinner allows it to soak into the wood and you'll find that propolis won't stick, making cleaning easy.

I've found it easier to clean poly hives by lining them with aluminium adhesive tape (obtainable at many DIY stores) prior to using them. The propolis and wax don't adhere as well to the aluminium, and scrubbing with washing soda won't destroy the polystyrene. if the tape comes off for any reason during cleaning (which rarely happens in my experience), just re-line it.

I suspect that the aluminium also enhances the thermal properties of the hive, and my bees don't seem to mind it at all.

You will find a very good summary of cleaning guidance over at the Conwy Beekeepers website, and the official advice, along with many other gems at the Bee base "Advisory Leaflets, Training Manuals & Fact Sheets" page

 


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  • Seasonal Bee Inspector (SBI) vacancies
    22 September 2022
    The National Bee Unit currently has a Seasonal Bee Inspector (SBI) vacancies advertised in:
    • Wales: Whole country, but particularly north and Ceredigion.
    • South West: Whole region
    • West: Avon, Staffordshire, Shropshire
    • East: Norfolk, but particularly north
    • North East: Lincolnshire, East Yorkshire
    • North West: Greater Sheffield area (SW Yorkshire, NW Derbyshire)
    • Central: Northamptonshire, North Buckinghamshire, Hampshire
    • South East: Kent, East Sussex

    If you are interested in applying for these jobs, full details can be found on Civil Service Jobs

    If you have any questions regarding the position, please contact the Regional Bee Inspector for the region.
  • Credible sighting of a single Asian hornet near Chelmsford, Essex
    26 August 2022
    National Bee Unit inspectors are carrying out enhanced surveillance near Chelmsford, in response to a compelling report of Asian hornet (Vespa velutina).

    Further information regarding the yellow-legged Asian hornet can be found on Defra's Asian Hornet sightings page and on BeeBase’s Asian hornet page. For media enquiries, please contact the Defra Press Office: 0330 0416560

    We ask beekeepers to remain vigilant, record monitoring trap locations on BeeBase by logging in and updating their my apiaries page, report suspected sightings using the ‘Asian hornet Watch’ app for iPhone and Android, or the online reporting form.

  • BeeBase Email Outage
    18 August 2022
    During the period Midday 12th August to Midday 17th August, some automated emails from BeeBase will not have been sent. 

    Therefore, if you did not receive an email when expected please re-submit your request. 

    Some systems affected included:
    • Password reset emails
    • Username reminders

    All emails are now being processed as normal
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