We have received reports from our Appointed Bee Inspectors that many colonies are showing signs of high Varroa infestations and consequently bee deformities.
If you have not already done so, it may be worthwhile to treat your colony with a registered varroacide. When administering a treatment, please use a registered veterinary product and ensure that the label is followed and not deviated from. Beekeepers may find a list of registered products in our advisory leaflet, ‘Managing Varroa‘ https://secure.fera.defra.gov.uk/beebase/index.cfm?pageid=167
After colonies have been treated, beekeepers should then reduce colony entrances and assess whether feeding needs to be carried out. Lift the roof off of the colony and heft the hive from each side of the brood box. If the colony has sufficient stores, then it should be difficult to lift. Each colony should have between 20-25 kg of stores for the winter.
If feeding needs to be carried out use either inverted sugar syrup or a 1:1 solution, i.e. 1kg of granulated white sugar: 650ml water.
Please note that if any of your colonies are showing signs of both Varroa damage and lack of food, it may be useful to feed and treat simultaneously. This should not be done if there is a honey flow on, only in emergency cases.
National Bee Unit.