The apiary looks lonely, there’s no leaves on the trees, no flowers in the grass or on the bushes, there’s a chill in the air. The hive lies quiet and lonely and there’s no sign of life. Leaning down I pin my ear to the side of the beehive and I hear a faint woosh and scuffle inside the hive. I smile. The bees are alive.
It’s cold and getting colder so the bees have formed themselves into a scrum – a rugby shape standing on its end, a huddle of thousands. They are constantly moving around so that everyone gets a turn in the toasty middle and at the cooler outer regions. The queen has stopped laying and she is being protected at all costs. On sunny days a few bees will venture out, I don’t know what they could be foraging for in the middle of winter, but they won’t fly far from the hive. Soon I’ll be putting on ApiBioxal, my Christmas present to the bees. It is one of the most common and best natural treatments for the Varroa Mite. This I hope will put manners on any remaining pesky Varroa mite so that my bees will be healthier.
I heft the hive to check that they have enough stores. It’s a bit of guesswork but it seems to work. I tap the hive affectionately before I leave.