Stores and Varroa

In some areas beekeepers have reported shortages of food stores in their hives. It is advised therefore that you check your colonies have adequate stores and add supplements if required. With the weather being quite variable, fondant is the best option rather than liquid feed.

This is also a good time to check for Varroa and for those of you thinking about treating your colonies with Oxalic acid, we remind you to only use approved products in the recommended manner.

Further information about colony feeding, Varroa control and keeping good medicine records can be found on the NBU website at

‘Beekeeper Advice Surgery’ today!

Just to remind all beekeepers that we will be hosting the National Bee Unit’s, ‘Beekeeper Advice Surgery’, on Saturday July 15th from 2pm until 5pm at the Picton Centre, Freemens Way, Haverfordwest, SA61 1TP, which will cover bee diseases etc. Details on this can be obtained NBU Advice Surgeries Flyer 2017.

We strongly recommend that you make every effort to attend for the sake of your bees!

All beekeepers and would be beekeepers are welcome!!

Refreshments available!!



Varroa warning from the NBU

In some regions of the UK, colonies are starting to show symptoms of high levels of Varroa mites, for example wing deformities and perforated cappings. Therefore, it might be prudent to start monitoring colony mite populations and information on how to do this can be found on page 15 of the Managing Varroa booklet. Also, the Varroa calculator can be used to help calculate your estimated mite population in your colonies:
If your colonies have a high amount of Varroa, i.e 1000 mites after calculating it from the average drop, you may want to treat them with a registered varroacide. Suitable treatments where brood is present would include
Apilife Var;
Mite Away Quick Strips (MAQS) and;
If you wish to use an oxalic acid based product then a broodless condition should be created first. Additionally, if you have honey for human consumption on the hives, remember that MAQs is currently the only registered product which can be used. When using any medicines it is important to remember to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
*Mite resistance to these products have been recorded and so a resistance test (the Beltsville test) should be carried out before using the product.


Varroa Monitoring and Control

Beekeepers need to ensure their colonies are free of disease and one of the scourges of modern beekeeping is of course the Varroa mite!

The BeeBase website has a very useful calculator to help estimate mite numbers and determine whether treatment is necessary. It is recommended therefore, that all PBKA members use this tool and then if necessary, treat affected colonies appropriately.

It is also recommended that all PBKA members register with BeeBase and take advantage of any inspections from our local bee inspector who should be considered as a valuable friend in the fight against disease and promotion of healthy colonies.


Varroa Alert from the National Bee Unit

Please see the notice below from the National Bee Unit.

Some of you may not have gotten round to treating your colonies with oxalic acid as the weather was so mild in winter. Treatments that were applied in winter may have had lower than normal efficacy due to the presence of brood and therefore beekeepers may want to consider treating colonies again, especially where bees are showing signs of deformed wings. Thymol based products and formic acid pads may be ineffective at the present time as daytime temperatures respectively of 12-15 °C or above are recommended. Neither should MAQS strips be used on smaller colonies.

Therefore contact strips such as Apistan or Bayvarol may be beneficial, these offer a rapid knock down in severely infested colonies. However, resistance to these products has been reported in some areas and therefore colonies will need to be monitored after the treatment and an alternative treatment applied if necessary later in the season.

Alternatively, Apivar & Biowar (Amitraz) are available under the EU Cascade system by using a special import certificate. For more information about this, contact your local vet.



Notice re Oxalic Acid treatment

As you will all be aware, the last few months in Pembrokeshire have been unseasonably mild, which has resulted in queens continuing to lay significant amounts of brood in many hives. This not only impacts on the amount of stores they have available (which needs to be checked regularly), but given the cold spell we are now moving into, some of you may be thinking of treating your hives with Oxalic Acid against the Varroa mite.

Note however, that using Oxalic Acid will destroy brood and we therefore recommend that you refrain from using Oxalic Acid treatment unless you are absolutely certain there is no brood present. Instead, we suggest that you undertake Varroa monitoring in the early spring and if necessary use an alternative Varroa control.