A festive feast and Apibioxal time at the apiary


There was a surprise treat for Ealing beekeepers this weekend – Pat had brought us some mulled wine, which he heated up and dished out to eager takers. He gleefully told us that unlike most recipes, his doesn’t involve burning off most of the alcohol (he followed Felicity Cloake’s ‘How to make perfect mulled wine‘ method).

Pat Turner with mulled wine

Pat with his mulled wine

We also had a bit of a feast to go with the wine – mince pies, baguette, cheese and cake. Well it is Christmas. The bees huddle up and eat and so do we.

Festive Christmas feast


With this warming fuel in our bellies we even managed to do a bit of beekeeping. In the association apiary hives are given a one-off anti-varroa treatment of oxalic acid around December/January time. Those of you outside the UK may not know that UK beekeepers can no longer legally use generic oxalic acid crystals and should use Api-Bioxal, a Veterinary Medicines Directorate approved product containing oxalic acid, instead. Of course you can still buy oxalic acid crystals, which are cheaper than Api-Bioxal, but you would technically be breaking the law if you used them for anything other than ‘hive cleansing’. Would anyone find out… probably not… but in an association apiary things need to be done by the book, so on Saturday we trickled Api-Bioxal on the bees.

Apibioxal drizzling

Apibioxal drizzling

I’m happy to say that both our hives were bursting with bees. They were not in a tight cluster and the day was warm enough that some colonies were flying. It’s a quick job to trickle 5ml of the Api-Bioxal syrup mix over each seam of bees. They were gentle on us and the most difficult part was closing up afterwards without squashing any. The National Bee Unit estimates it should have a 90-95% efficiency rate – you can never get all the mites but you can get a satisfying number.

Bee Music

Exciting news for bee music lovers – on Wednesday 21st at 10am BBC 6 Music have a bee-themed show, as BE will be performing their 2016 album ONE, which was created for the Hive installation at Kew Gardens using a live feed of bee colony sounds. If you can’t listen live you can catch up with it afterwards. 

Happy Christmas everyone!

About Emily Scott

I am a UK beekeeper who has recently moved from London to windswept, wet Cornwall. I first started keeping bees in the Ealing Beekeepers Association’s local apiary in 2008, when I created this blog as a record for myself of my various beekeeping related disasters and - hopefully! - future successes.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to A festive feast and Apibioxal time at the apiary

  1. clare1023 says:

    lovely blog – many thanks. happy Christmas to oyu and the bees. Clare xx


  2. Erik says:

    Happy Christmas, Emily! Sounds like fun, hope your bees appreciate the good care you give them.


  3. donna213 says:

    Merry Christmas to you, your family and the bees. May they be mite free for Christmas. Mulled wine? I never had that. I do like the cake though.


    • Emily Scott says:

      Thanks Donna, merry Christmas to you too. Mulled wine is often served in markets and pubs around Christmas time and winter generally in Europe. It’s red wine boiled up with sugar and spices like cinnamon, cloves, ginger and cardamom and served hot. Good for outdoor activities like standing round an apiary!


  4. azuremorn says:

    Beautiful. Happy Christmas.


  5. Happy Christmas to you and the bees. Amelia


  6. Mark says:

    Looks like a nice party, although the bees’ treat was a bit on the sour side. 😀 Merry Christmas!


  7. The Apiarist says:

    Very civilised … mulled wine and Api-Bioxal. Did you follow the Ai-Bioxal recipe (which I think gives 4.2%) or the slightly weaker recipe that’s more usually used in the UK? Did you look in any colonies to determine whether they were broodless? I think the high efficacy (90%+) is in broodless colonies.
    Most colonies of mine in Scotland have gone through a broodless period and mite drop after treatment has now dwindled to an odd one or two a week. The only exception are hives in which I think there was brood present … these continue to drop a few and will get another dose (vaporisation).
    Happy Christmas


    • Emily Scott says:

      Tom mixed up the Api-Bioxal for the apiary’s hives so I’m not sure what concentration he used. We were trying to be fast and not disturb the bees too much so didn’t check for brood. At our end of the country I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a little brood but hopefully at its minimum now coming up to the winter solstice. Happy Christmas!


  8. P&B says:

    Merry Christmas to you, your family and the hard working girls in your apiary.


  9. Pingback: A festive feast and Apibioxal time at the apiary | How To Raise Bees

  10. Pingback: A festive feast and Apibioxal time at the apiary | Raising Honey Bees

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.