A number of lucky members of the IOMBKF were treated to a bee keeping session with Michael
Young MBE today. Michael is on the Island for the weekend.
We also of course found time for tea, sandwiches and cake all enjoyed in the beautiful
surroundings of Ballacallin Court, generously made available by David Anderson.
We were so lucky to have perfect weather for hive inspections and Michael showed us an
alternative to smoking the bees – a spray bottle filled with 1:1 sugar syrup with two drops of
essential oil – ideally tea tree but mint would also do. The tea tree essence, even in that small
amount has a calming effect and with the sugar, averts their attention from the beekeeper to the
potential food and the tea tree oil when ingested provides some antibacterial and antiviral
properties for the young bees who may be fed it.

Michael also passed on many words of wisdom about being gentle with taking off and putting back
on hive elements, trying to avoid snapping off the queen excluder, crown board or supers which
might have been propolised and also feeling for the corners when putting the roof back on.
Eagle eyed Michael spotted the queen in two of the three hives he looked at, marking them on the
way and continuing with his inspections with only one Marigold glove – a braver person than I!
We started a combination of a queen less hive with a queen right and very gentle hive provided by
Bryan, adding newspaper between the queen less hive on brood and a half, and the queen right
one on top. Michael recommended adding a free onion ring slice on top of the newspaper to mask
the scent of the new queen and assisting with an event free combining of the two colonies. Once
the queen has made her way down to the bottom box, a queen excluder may be added to
separate the top box from the bottom and once any brood in that top box has emerged, that may

be removed and the colony can continue on its original brood and a half with no loss of brood, bees or stores.


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