Reigate Beekeepers Auction 2012

The auction for bees and beekeeping equipment was held on 31st March at the club’s apiary site in Mickleham. Once again the weather held fine and we had a good turn out. Paynes Beekeeping also had a stand selling new stuff and seemed to do a reasonable trade during the day.

With around 130 lots there was certainly a lot to get through. Highlights were the bees as usual with the 2 full size colonies fetching £180 and £200 which I thought was quite reasonable when compared to bee breeders asking for £130-£150 for a nuc.

Other items sold included:

  1. 2 x national supers – £16
  2. Observation hive, nicely made – £62
  3. Complete National hive including brood box and 2 supers – £65
  4. New National brood box, assembled – £24
  5. Manual extractors – 3 sold for £50 – £75

Once again I struggled to auction off the Dadant equipment and ended up only getting £10 for about 5 old hives.

Not many unsold lots and these tended to be for equipment in very poor condition. I have to say that on the whole I think the buyers got items quite cheaply.

Managing More Bees

One of the local members of my association has asked me to look after his bees as he’s not able to. So I will be managing his 3 colonies for this coming season, which are based in an out apiary site about 3 miles away. Went to look at the bees tonight to check on their state as nobody has inspected them since they were treated for varroa with Oxalic Acid in early January.

They appear to be thriving and have enough stores until the Spring flow starts. All are on 14 x 12 boxes and one will certainly need a super before too long. I gave the strongest colony a pollen substitute patty to encourage it along.

Making Up and Feeding Pollen Substitute

Made up some pollen substitute and put on my colonies today, as I need very strong colonies for my plan to increase the number of colonies from 4 to 8. I gave each one a 1lb “patty”. Looking on various websites I decided that the simplest formula was:

  • 1.5Kg soya flour
  • 500g brewers yeast
  • 1Kg sugar
  • 4.5Kg sugar syrup – made up 2:1 (3Kg sugar to 1.5Kg water)

Mixed up in a food processor in 2 batches. Seemed to come out at the right consistency, like a sticky bread dough. In order to make it easy to handle I spooned 450g into freezer bags and laid these on top of the frames after cutting out a slot covering most of one side.

The soya flour wasn’t low fat and had a fat content of 20%. As the various information sources I read recommend a maximum fat content of around 7% I decided that 4Kg of sugar would result in an overall fat content of around 5% and as there is no pollen in the mix the sugar content needs to be high, in this case around 55%. It will be interesting to see how much of the patties the bees consume. Previously with commercial substitutes I’ve had very mixed success – some colonies like it and others barely touched it.

The Indigo colony in my out apiary is the one that I didn’t treat with Oxalic acid and looks to be quite strong but low on stores. So I will try and feed it later this week.

Update – 5th  March; fed Indigo with 8 litres of 2:1 syrup; which is probably a bit too much but decided to use a Miller feeder rather than a contact feeder as I’m not able to get to the out apiary site for a couple of weeks.

I think this year I will invest in a couple of pollen traps to build up a stock of pollen that I can use for next season’s spring feeding.