Busy bee preparations

Beekeeping equipment being cleaned

With what looks like the summer coming to an end, excess honey extracted from the girls and a pile of bee equipment cluttering up the house, it was time to take it all outside and start cleaning it ready to store away until needed next spring.

First job was to scrape off any wax and propolis before giving all the hive parts a thorough cleaning with washing soda crystals (1 kg crystals to 5 litres water) that acts like a mild disinfectant. I've found that a BBQ cleaner is ideal for this with its wire brush for getting in nooks and crannies. Then giving them a rinse before leaving to dry outside before I can sterilise the supers with a blow torch. That was the plan... rain stopped play and everything is outside getting a second rinse!

Cleaning my beekeeping equipment reminds me that the purpose of good apiary hygiene is to help reduce or prevent the spread of disease between honey bee colonies and to concentrate my mind on what should always be considered a permanent threat. Low levels of disease are not always recognised and their presence can stress bees, making them even more susceptible to other diseases.

One other beekeeping job this weekend will be to treat one of my colonies with Oxalic Acid as having monitored the varroa mite drop for a week, the number found is a little higher than I would have liked at this time of year, so time to treat them before the winter.