Where on earth did last year go? Well, for me, a good part has been either in Hospital or journeying backwards and forwards between there and home. All of which has meant that I’ve totally neglected my bees and everything associated with them. Not by choice,I hasten to add. It is only now, some twelve months after leaving hospital, that I am able to walk, more or less, unaided. Were it not for the help and support of my friends in our local society, there was no way that I would have been able to continue my beekeeping, but, thankfully, with the worst now over and Spring just around the corner, I’m feeling really optimistic once again.Before I go any further, I want to apologize to those of you that have followed my exploits here at Mendip Apiary, for not explaining why I had suddenly stopped blogging. I don’t know whether I was more shocked or surprised to be told that I needed to undergo major surgery and would be spending Christmas in hospital but I do know the last thing on my mind at that time was bees or blogging. In fact, by the time the hospital had finished with me and I was back home some weeks later, I had more or less resigned myself to my beekeeping days being over.
Thankfully, that is now behind me which meant, for the first time in, what seems longer than I can remember, I was able to take advantage of last Tuesday, the first sunny day in weeks, and visit my bees. It was a lovely feeling pulling into the car park at Mendip “C”, to once again feel that I was among friends,and a part of my little apiary. We have suffered a few casualties this Winter which was to be expected, but there was plenty of activity with a fair amount of pollen going into the hives which had made it and I know we will soon get back up to strength as the season progresses. Leaving the car park I felt a warm glow, a feeling of belonging, one I had almost forgotten. I can’t wait to return.
Now into the last week of the month and at last, some “shirtsleeve weather”. Time to have a look at The Station hives. I’ve spent the last couple of days at “C” going through the empty hives, and now it was The Station’s turn. Something I aim do at the end of each season is to remove all of the used frames for boiling and scorch and stain all of the empty boxes. Sadly, with the events of this last year, this is one of the things I’ve neglected to do. So, for the first time in over a year,it was into the first empty hive. .
THE DREADED WAX MOTH HAD TAKEN FULL ADVANTAGE OF MY ABSENCE
It was full of wax moth, in all stages. I’ve seen them before but never like this.In addition to pupae there were several adults skittering around. In an effort to contain them I quickly replaced the roof, also to allow me time to decide how best to deal with them. As I said, I’d never come across anything quite like this before. I decided the best course of action would be to quickly open the other empty hives to ascertain the extent of the problem, and so, on to the next one which was just as bad, if not worse.
JUST THE SAME IF NOT WORSE
There were four empty hives in all, that is, hives which had lost their bees and so had used comb in. Not sure quite what to expect I moved on to the other two hives where strangely, there was absolutely no sign of wax moth. So how best to deal with them, there were quite a few adults on the frames and with the roofs off they were coming up to the top and the last thing I wanted was dozens of adult moths taking to the wing. Insecticide was obviously out of the question, so what to do.
One of the jobs I had earmarked for this visit was to scorch out the empty hives prior to giving them a fresh coat of Cuprinol and so fortunately I had my trusty blowlamp with me. With this in hand, glad to say,the moths were soon a thing of the past.