This Month in the Apiary: December
Check the weight of the hive / level of stores and add fondant if needed.
Quite often beekeepers give their bees a Christmas present of fondant on Boxing day.
With the entrance narrowed down it’s important to check that the entrance is clear as there is a danger that bees that have died in the hive can start blocking this entrance.
Worth doing a Varroa drop count, the National Bee Unit (BeeBase) has a very useful Varroa calculator that allows you to enter the date, the number of mites found on your Varroa board over a number of days and estimates the likely infestation level and whether you should treat for them.
During this month the amount of capped brood is low and the mites are forced to exist on the bodies of the bees, leaving them more vulnerable to a Varroa treatment such as Api-bioxal, using a trickle method or the evaporation method.
In the trickle method the treatment is trickled between two brood frames whereas the evaporation method involves a small rodlike pan which you heat with a car battery placed in the entrance with the oxalic crystals and leave for a few minutes to allow the crystals to vapourise.
During these winter months check your hives to make sure they and any stored equipment are safe from wax moth, rodents and other pests.