As COP27 was in full swing and we were finishing this issue, the highest November temperatures ever recorded in the UK must have shocked even the bees. They were busily bringing in pollen while even a few drones took to the air as if it was high summer. At a frighteningly unseasonal 21C, some autumn-sown oilseed rape was flowering as if it was early April. Will there be a broodless period for treating varroa with oxalic acid this year? What will forage be like in spring?
Whatever the weather, swarming is unlikely for a while but this month’s cover by George Tonge is a wistful reminder of summertime beekeeping. It accompanies Chris Palgrave’s second thoughtful article about the ethics of (trying to) manage swarming (page 28). If you have enjoyed George’s illustrations over the past year you can see more on Instagram: @GeorgeTonge.
We say a fond farewell to beginner’s series author Christine Coulsting, who files her last contribution this month (page 18). We thank Christine for her sound advice and wish her well as she studies for her National Diploma in Beekeeping. We are sure she will be writing for us again.
Congratulations to Conall McCaughey, this year’s overall winner of our annual photo competition (page 24). He receives a new beesuit from BJ Sherriff. Please keep snapping – don’t wait for summer, there are plenty of opportunities in winter.
Earlier this year we offered a guest editorship of a BeeCraft article as a lot in a National Honey Show auction to benefit Ukraine. Top bidder was Tony Fox and his idea of wanting to know what’s happening inside a hive without lifting the roof is likely to turn into a series. We’ve been asking around for tips from eminent beekeepers for the first report (page 9) and we are sure you have some tips, so
please send us your own observations.
As ever, the National Honey Show (page 7) was inspiring and this month we have the backstories of winners in the commercial honey beer category. As editors, we had to taste them to make sure they were worthy of an article though. They are (page 12) – or at least we think that’s what we remembered we agreed. What’s fermenting for Christmas in your garage?
Special features this month
Silent inspections in the off season
Battle of the beers – Richard Searle, Susanne Allen
Bait hive bumblebee takeover – Mike Rowbottom
Bees in Belize – Matt Ramscar
2022 Photo of the month winners
2022 National Honey Show
Plus all the regulars.