Well with 2022 nearly over, I wanted to write and wish you all the very best for 2023. The new bee season started the minute that we put the bees to bed for winter with the first job being to plan for 2023.
So what is your beekeeping plan for 2023?
- Is colony increase something that you are interested in? How are you going to go about that? – buy more bees or make increase from your existing stock?
- What does your equipment situation look like? Do you have enough? Do you need to buy more? Do you have the time to build it?
- Have you considered the time it will take to manage the additional colonies that you are planning on acquiring?
- If you intend to make increase from your existing stock, which method(s) will you use? 2FrameNuc? Walk-Away Split? Simple Colony Increase? Wally Shaw Method? (there are MANY more!)
- Will you let the new colonies raise their own, open-mated, queens, or will you buy in queens? As an affiliate of both the British Beekeepers Association and Yorkshire Beekeepers Association, Barnsley Beekeepers Association discourages the importation of both honey bee queens and colonies from outside the UK.
- Have you signed up to the National Bee Improvement Programme (NatBIP)? There is a guide to help you with increasing colony numbers is a sustainable way (https://bibba.com/natbip/).
- Was swarming an issue for you in 2022? How can you exploit the swarming instinct to add colonies (if that’s your intention) or just successfully get through swarming season without adding to your hive count or losing your bees to your neighbour’s chimney?
- Do you want to try to increase your yield? (weather and forage dependant). Or maybe, you would like to try a different type of honey product, such as comb honey. What about the other hive-products such as pollen, propolis or beeswax?
- Maybe you would like to try your hand at raising nucs or queens: The most fun you can have in a beesuit | Small Scale Queen Rearing | Miller Queen Rearing Workbook | Barnsley Beekeepers Bee Chat
- Management of pests and diseases is another area to consider. Even successful beekeepers know that there is always room for improvement because of the ever-changing challenges. How can you build upon your knowledge and experience? Have you taken the free eLearning course on the National Bee Unit website? (a guide on how to do this is here.
- Have you signed-up to BeeBase and updated your colonies?
- Or maybe what you would really like to do is sharpen your bee- husbandry skills and deepen your understanding of the fascinating biology of honeybees. Make sure you speak to Val, our Education Officer, about the opportunities that are available from the BBKA. Sign up for updates from www.beekeeping.events so that you are notified about the lectures, webinars and training courses that are out there.
We know from experience that the most successful beekeepers think about, and create, their plan for the new beekeeping year before it arrives!
The January issue of the BBKA News has some useful articles in it that may be of interest, particularly to new beekeepers. A reminder, for new and old members, that the entire back-catalogue of BBKA News magazines are available on the https://bbkanews.com/ website. You need your membership number and postcode to access it. You can use the handy search box to interrogate all the back issues for key words.
We have chair and treasurer officer posts available from Oct 2023. If you are interested, catch one of the officers at February’s meeting.
Wishing you a peaceful and prosperous New Year.