Tips for the month:

• The very odd weather has meant that bees have been bringing in pollen into December, but I didn’t notice too much in January. Now as Spring is just round the corner we should once again be seeing pollen being brought in, and this would indicate that the queen has increased her laying and there is brood in the hive which means the bees need food (pollen and carbohydrate/sugar) to make brood food, and keep the queen well fed. The unusually warm winter has probably meant that stores have been used up more quickly, so make sure they survive the winter by supplying fondant and pollen patties if no pollen is available near the hives.

Read more: February 2016

Tips for the month:

• The very warm December temperatures are presenting our bees with a challenge. Many are still flying and bringing in pollen, but this increased activity at a time when usually they would be clustering, means that they are using up more food supplies than normal.

Read more: January 2016

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Keep checking on your hives every few weeks to make sure all is well - eg roofs have not blown away, and heft hives to check on stores.

Review your hive records to see what worked and what did not - thinking about which hives you want to increase from, which hives need comb changes - by doing a Bailey comb change or shook swarm.

Read more: December 2015

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Hopefully all mouseguards are in place.  Now is the time to also protect against woodpeckers if you have seen the large green woodpecker in the vicinity of your apiary.

September and October have provided some surprises weather-wise, and given the bees a little extra time to top up stores and pollen for the winter ahead.  It is important now not to disturb the bees and let them form a cluster for the winter.

Read more: November 2015


Beebase News Web feed
  • Social science study on how best to support beekeepers and bee farmers through education, information and advice
    20 January 2021
    Understanding how turnover (“churn”) among beekeepers can be managed and review information sources, learning methods and use of social media, to develop resources to support the beekeeping sector.

    Defra and Welsh Government have commissioned a social science study to gather information about different aspects of education and training. This includes getting a better understanding of how the turnover of beekeepers can be managed. It will also review information sources, learning methods and use of social media. The third part of the project will evaluate current continuous professional development schemes and resources to support bee farmers. The study which has just begun, has been contracted to ICF Consulting who have carried out a number of research projects in other areas for Defra. We are hoping that many beekeepers will participate in the project which will include a survey and further details will be announced soon.

    This work links into the Healthy Bees Plan 2030, working together to improve honey bee health and husbandry in England & Wales.
  • COVID-19 and Beekeeping update
    11 January 2021
    This is a re-issue of the guidance provided in October 2020:

    Please find the latest Covid-19 beekeeping guidance. The update includes separate links to the current Public Health Guidance for England, Wales and Scotland.


    COVID-19_and_Beekeeping_-_Welsh_Language_Version v3

    If you have any queries please contact:

    For England:
    For Wales: /
    For Scotland:
  • Starvation and Varroa Alert
    04 December 2020
    Observations from beekeepers and Bee Inspectors across the UK suggest that some colonies of bees are becoming short of food.

    Please monitor your colonies throughout the coming months and feed as required to ensure your bees do not starve. A standard full size British National colony needs between 20-25 kg of stores to successfully overwinter. If they need feeding at this time then fondant should be used. This should be placed above the brood nest so that the bees are able to access it easily.

    For further information, please see the ‘Best Practice Guidance No. 7 - Feeding Bees Sugar’ on the following BeeBase Page:

    It has also been observed that Varroa levels in some hives are starting to increase again. This may be due to a number of factors, but the exceptionally mild weather this autumn has encouraged some colonies to produce more brood than usual which has allowed an increase in mite reproduction.

    Please monitor mite levels and treat accordingly.

    For further information, please see the’ Managing Varroa’ Advisory leaflet on the following BeeBase Page: