19 May 2015

Compete with friends and unlock stickers

Do you know what this is? Nope, me neither.

16 May 2015

Middle-class urban beekeepers blamed for town centre swarms


I particularly like (a) the idea that beekeepers rather than bees are responsible for swarms, (b) the use of 'blame,' and (c) the ignorant lack of hyphen in the newspaper headline. 

12 May 2015

Memento Mori

Last year at an NT property, no less, I found a former orchard containing five WBC hives, of which two or three were moribund and yet still had boxes and frames inside. I peeked inside one active hive, which seemed to be full of wax moth (I did not have time to look properly).

After contacting the local association and a bit of asking around, I am fairly sure the beekeeper has sadly flown his last flight, and the NT had, er, not noticed. Which rather got me to thinking: does anyone include "what to do with my bees" in their Will?

The hive at my right shoulder was busy - but look at the height of the grass. The bees could barely fly in!


The happy blogger's buzz: colonies building up fast, warmer weather returning, and incompetent beekeeping, like the nectar, in full flow.

Sitrep: Hive Alpha. A mouse gobbled up half of one colony and brood frames during the winter, yet somehow the bees made it through. The girls were rewarded with some spanking new frames and foundation from Thornes, and seem to have recovered well.

Sitrep: Hive Hanoi (a towering ziggurat of WBC lifts, hence the snappy name). More bees than you can shake a stick at - and I have shaken a fair few sticks in my time. I'm thinking of splitting the colony.

28 May 2014

St Ermin's

St Ermin's Hotel is offering beekeeping courses, The two-and-a-half-hour sessions cost £25 per person and include a complimentary cocktail at the hotel’s Caxton Bar. 

"The terrace is dotted with wildflowers and bee-friendly plants and is already home to four hives, which house a thriving resident colony of 300,000 Buckfast honey bees."

Available dates include September 13, 16 and 20. Visit www.sterminshotel.co.uk/special-offers/st-ermins-beekeeping-courses to book.


Purple hives. Eh? 

27 May 2014


EFB has been found in colonies around 2 miles away ...

23 May 2014


I like this. I might get one. Donkey, that is.


From The Daily Mail online, where else? 

20 May 2014

Controlled, randomized

Mirabile dictu, the much-needed extra supers are now on both colonies.

One hive now has (from the bottom up) Brood/Super, QE, Super/Super/Super, and the other is the same except no Queen Excluder.

It's part of my plan to see whether a QE helps or hinders colony development, in a controlled randomized double-blind trial. See diagram (1). Or it could be that I forgot to bring it.

Diagram (1): Pretty much says it all, I feel. 

19 May 2014


The weather has brightened up and both hives are overflowing with bees and honey... do I have any spare supers to plonk on top?

Of course not. Let's hope Thornes do their stuff... sooner rather than later.

11 May 2014

Shaken, not stirred

My first attempt at a shook swarm is going well, in a no-idea-if-it-is-working way.

Forget the textbook steps (assuming, that is, you know them to forget them). I now have two colonies, one queened and one queenless.

If I am successful, the credit is mine; if not, I blame the bees. (I should be in management, eh?)