As Summer Approaches

As we approach summer, there are a few things the discerning beekeeper should keep an eye on.

1. Watch out for small hive beetle (SHB). 

If larvae are present, the hive will almost certainly be ‘slimed’ and the honey will ferment. Prevent this by using a trap of some sort, whether it be oil, Apithor, diatomaceous earth or mesh base. It is important to maintain strong colonies and reduce the numbers of adult SHB by whatever means possible.

2. Fire-proof your bee site. 

Clearing the grass/leaf debris from under and around your hives, particularly given the early start to the fire season, is the way to go.

These hives burned, even though there was only very short grass under the pallets (Wandandian fires, 2003)

These hives burned, even though there was only very short grass under the pallets (Wandandian fires, 2003)

These hives would be more likely to survive – similar preparation saved hives in the Wandandian fires of 2003. The leaves and debris have been raked clear, and a gap of 2m surrounds the hives

These hives would be more likely to survive – similar preparation saved hives in the Wandandian fires of 2003. The leaves and debris have been raked clear, and a gap of 2m surrounds the hives

3. Keep an eye out for Wax moth. 

Wax moths can decimate stored comb in a matter of weeks. What is left behind is a mess of cocoons and moth faeces. Not a pretty size, and a waste of good combs. Preventable on a small scale by freezing combs overnight (in a freezer, not a fridge), but because the moth has a 3-week life cycle, needs to be repeated every 3 weeks if the combs are not being used.

Wax moth faeces – an extreme example

Wax moth faeces – an extreme example