A Year of Contrast

What a turnaround! Following one of the coldest springs on record, we (and the bees) enjoyed one the warmest and driest Julys for a very long time. The bees which made it through the spring made a strong recovery and have delivered a very respectable crop of honey - thank you! 


We are now entering, in my view, the most important period in the beekeeping calender - preparing our bees for winter!

Our work now is to ensure that our bees are disease and pest free, well provisioned with winter stores and in secure weather proof accommodation.

Varroa is still the main reason that colonies fail, so we must remain vigilant. Determine the level of varroa in your hives and treat accordingly. The National Bee Unit have produced an excellent booklet on Varroa which can be downloaded here. If you do need to treat for varroa then remember to allow enough time to complete the treatment and have enough time to finish winter feeding by early October. There are several products on the market to treat varroa - some with varying results - but I still find Apiguard (not to be confused with Apistan) does a pretty good job if used in accordance with the instructions. The manufacturers have produced a Frequently Asked Question leaflet which can be downloaded here.

When feeding for winter, use a heavy syrup (2lb sugar to a pint of water), which leaves the bees less work to do to get it to the right moisture content for capping. Also remember a typical colony needs 30lb - 40lb of stores to get through winter, so you need to assess how much stores they already have in their broodbox and top up the balance.

Make sure your hives are weatherproof; bees can cope with cold but not damp. Any weak colonies should be united or re-homed in a well insulated nuc box. Finally, pat yourself on the back, put your feet up and enjoy some good bee books over the winter!

Mike Davies

Training Officer,  Lampeter & District Beekeepers' Association





  • Interested in becoming a beekeeper but don't know where to start?

    Have a look at our Education pages, where you'll find our "Become a Beekeeper" information guide which answers questions like "what do I need?" and "how do I obtain bees?", useful links to other resources and details of our courses for beginners.

  • Honey bees

  • Already a beekeeper and looking for advice or to join a beekeeping association?

    Browse the seasonal notes, information guides and other help in our Education pages or contact us to ask a question of our beekeeping community. Have a look at our About Us pages for information on the Association, the benefits of membership and how to join.

  • In need of a speaker on bees or beekeeping for your event, society or school?

    We're always keen to encourage others to become beekeepers or learn how to help bees and are happy to visit local groups and schools or attend events to give talks and demonstrations about bees and beekeeping. You can Contact Us through the website or get in touch with a member of our Committee.

  • Just looking for information about bees and how to help them?

    If you want to know more about the life of the honey bee or to find out how to encourage bees into your garden, you'll find information guides, useful links to news from the National Bee Unit and other resources in our Education pages.

  • Can't find what you're looking for or want to know more?

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    We look forward to hearing from you!

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