On 24th March 2017 Worcester Beekeepers were treated to a fascinating talk given by Georgi Dimov, a Bulgarian beekeeper, on the vagaries of bees in Bulgaria.
Firstly, their location is in Karnobat, a picturesque town, some 30Km from the Black Sea where the temperature zone ranges from -25°C and deep snow, to 40°C in the high summer. They currently have some 130 hives with plans to expand to 160+ hives in a very rural area, which includes pasture land and farmland to the north, and hills and pine forest to the south of their site.
Though basic beekeeping is similar to our methods there were some quite radical differences in that all colonies were on double-brood boxes without queen excluders, he explained “with double-brood why would the Queen want to go up into the super?” Also, the hives have multiple entrances, again he explained, “they soon get used to the layout and choose which ever entrance suits”.
He told us that over the past 3-5 years the varroa problem has eased which they put down to open floors – which they use all year round despite the temperature extremes, and also to using boiled pine needle water to make up syrup. A professor in Bulgaria came up with the idea and likens it to someone eating garlic which can help with repelling insects (or indeed other people).
He brought with him two jars of their honey, one of natural wild flower and one of sunflower – which is a big crop over there. We all agreed that the taste was superb for both honeys. What might surprise you is that he is only allowed to sell it to a small number of buyers, and at £2.50 per kilo.
It would be nice if Worcester Beekeepers could have regular reciprocal dialogue with our Bulgarian colleagues with a view to apiary visits and exchanging our differing methods of working.
The pictures are of the apiary, the empty field will be the location of the additional hives.
For those of you who couldn’t make it you really did miss a fascinating evening, as those who attended can testify. Next time we have an event please try and make it.