Midwinter beekeeping in a pandemic

At the weekend I did my winter oxalic acid anti-varroa trickling – about 2-3 weeks later than is often recommended. But I did it, which I’m pleased with.

Having two children under 5 (and Holly’s birthday just before Christmas!) has made for a very hectic December. On top of that Tommy got ill just after Christmas and was waking up hourly crying out in pain. It took a little while to get to the bottom of that, but he’s now received the right antibiotics and seems to be recovered.

When both children are a bit older, and there’s not a pandemic on, and no-one in the house is in agony and needing trips to A&E, I imagine my oxalic acid trickling will be done at the perfect time 😉

I saw someone recommend using a poly hive roof and super to overwinter, so I’ve given that a go with one of my hives this year. So far so good. I have chicken wire around the hives to try to deter woodpeckers, though thinking about it I probably should put some over the top as well as the sides. Fiddling about with chicken wire has to be one of my least favourite beekeeping tasks though!

I’ve been continuing to help out my local association now and again by updating the website and answering emails sent in by the public. This week someone sent in a photo of a falling apart hive they had seen while out walking, full of ivy and cracks. They were worried about the colony inside, as they had seen bees going in and out on a few occasions. One of our members is going to have a look. It reminded me that bees can be remarkably resilient even in a less than perfect home 🙂

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.
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8 Responses to Midwinter beekeeping in a pandemic

  1. disperser says:

    Sounds like exciting times. But, it’s a new year . . . onward and upward.

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  2. hencorner says:

    Well done Emily, none of us are perfect bee keepers, but I’m sure (once the bees realise that we are trying to help them) our efforts are appreciated!
    My failing with oxalic acid (only last week) was that I chose to use the inverted syrup that I had in store… only at the hive did I realise that it’s ‘too thick to trickle’ 🤣🐝🐝🐝

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  3. It is comforting to know that you have only done your oxalic acid treatment. Up until just over a week ago we have had such mild weather the hives seemed to have a lot of brood judging from under the hives. Now we have had some sub-zero nights I expect that should hold back the queens and let us treat them at a more appropriate moment. Amelia

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    • Emily Scott says:

      Your bees must go broodless for only a tiny amount of time, if at all? I suspect in Cornwall we may have brood throughout the winter, though I didn’t check the frames as the bees weren’t pleased to see me! Like you we had some frosty nights recently, so hopefully that has slowed the queens down a bit.

      Liked by 1 person

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