With the mild Winter that we have had and the early Spring, the bees are already well advanced with colony size. Swarming is a natural instinct for bees but it is one that needs to be controlled if you want to maximise your honey crop or if you are keeping bees in an urban area. This little video from the Beginner Beekeeper makes the process simple and easy to understand.
Polystyrene is a great material for bee hives. Its lightweight, cost effective and when properly looked after will last 20+ years. So, how do you give your poly hive or poly nuc box the best life you can.
Although you don’t need to paint polystyrene hive parts, like the wooden equivalent, they will last much longer if you do. We stock a Natural hive paint, based of Silicium. This paint gives a rough surface that makes it easy for the bees to climb on and has natural anti-fungicide properties to it.
Alternatively, masonry paints or even the cuprinol shades can also be used.
Painting the inside of the feeder is also recommended, especially if you are going to be using it for weak sugar syrup. If you are using paint other than the polystyrene paint, make sure the finished surface is roughened to aid the bees in climbing.
The hives are best cleaned with a solution of washing soda. This will dissolve propolis and clean off any dirt etc. Be careful trying to remove propolis and wax with the hive tool, as it will dig into the polystyrene if the tool is not kept flat.
Sterilisation of the hive can be carried out with a solution of household bleach, normally a 10% solution is recommended. Virkon S, obtainable from farm suppliers and some vets is also a very good cleaning liquid. Wear suitable protection, including eye protection, when cleaning your hive.