Queen marking colour for 2017 - YELLOW

Winter Varroa treatment - Message from Peter West

Just a reminder to those obtaining Api-Bioxal oxalic acid solution from me, the method of application is outlined below. Please note that solution made with Api-Bioxal may have a faint brown tinge compared to previous solutions. This is nothing to worry about.

Many people have been caught out, thinking that they have very little Varroa.  Inserting a Varroa tray and doing a mite drop count every couple of days for a week after treatment is instructive, and gives you a good idea of how many mites are waiting to get into the brood cells when the queen restarts laying in January/February.

Oxalic solution damages the Varroa mouthparts, so they cannot suck your bees haemolymph and over the next few days fall off.

Treatment with oxalic solution does not affect the honey made in the Spring.  In fact oxalic acid is found naturally in honey in small quantities.

Oxalic acid only affects the Varroa on the bees. Normally 85% of the Varroa are inside the sealed brood and are safe.  Treatment around Christmas / beginning of January aims to catch the Varroa when there is no brood to hide in.


The solution should not be too cold, nearer blood heat would be good.  The day can be frosty with the bees well clustered.

Ideally draw up 50ml solution in a syringe.

Have a lit smoker handy (but should not be needed if crown board removed very carefully).

Between the brood frames are 'seams' of bees. Use 5ml for each seam of bees.  Only treat the bees, do not put the solution down empty seams/gaps.  So if there are only 4 seams of bees only use 20 ml.

Practice with water beforehand so that you know how to deliver 5 ml along each seam.  I find that 5 ml is a continuous series of little drops.

If you have a super on top of the brood box and you know the cluster is below it, you can remove the super gently to treat the bees.

Best wishes for a Happy Christmas and a Productive New Beekeeping Year!  Peter

East Devon AGM, 2017.

The reports discussed at the AGM show the branch has a full programme of activities and financially has managed to break even over the past year.

The Beginners Course was well attended in the classroom sessions and continued to attract good attendance at the practical apiary sessions.

The teaching apiary is now back up to strength after a poor start thanks to the work of David Shale, Andy Legg and helpers. The strimming team were also thanked for their efforts to keep the grass under control.

This year 5 candidates prepared for the Basic Assessment and took the exam with 5 passes, 2 with credit.

Four of the successful candidates with
Hilary Kirkcaldie, President

The Craythorne cup for the Basic candidate with the highest marks in East Devon went to Nick Silver. Congratulations to all of them.

Voting took place for Committee members. Chairman -John Badley, Secretary and Membership - Val Bone, Treasurer - Keith Bone, Committee - Andy Legg, Sue Babey, Mary Boulton, Alasdair Bruce, Ralph Cox, Rosemary Maggs, Colin Osbourne and Richard Simpson.

After refreshments, Ruth and Ian Homer gave a fascinating talk on the 8th International Meeting of Young Beekeepers event, largely organised by them, that was held at Marlborough College in July of this year.

Planning was well under way 1½ years before the event and, as Ian and Ruth explained, there were many hurdles to overcome. In the end IMYB 2017 was attended by 19 teams speaking 13 different languages!

All the participants were divided up into small international teams, each team identified by their own coloured baseball cap. The tasks included activities such as frame making, grafting larvae, inspection and handling bees to show the competitors basic skills. Other tasks required problem solving with discussion and team working.

The assessments took place in the mornings. On the first afternoon the competitors were treated to a tour of Stonehenge and on the second afternoon they all departed for a DCA hunt on nearby Marlborough Downs. This proved to be the highlight of the event for some of the competitors as they had never witnessed the phenomenon before.

The accompanying adults were treated to tours of Stonehenge, Bath and Salibury.

In conclusion, the weather was perfect, the bees behaved perfectly and the competitors and accompanying adults voted IMYB 2017 as the best yet.

It is now up to us to encourage more young beekeepers into the craft.

Catch up on the meetings you missed

East Devon Beekeepers

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