29 November 2018

From our Portuguese correspondent

Some honey Brandy in Portugal...tasted so nice had to buy a bottle😎

Mead in the news

Mead in the news  I particularly like this paragraph:

Mead, created by fermenting honey with water, dates back thousands of years and was once viewed as the drink of the gods, falling from the heavens as dew then gathered by bees. It was also believed to improve health and prolong life.

Scepticism liberates, belief constricts, faith imprisons.

22 November 2018

The water in Madeira don't taste that much queerer

From our Portuguese correspondent; plenty in bloom!

Barnadia Japonica in the Botanical Gardens, Funchal (spotted by someone wiser than me - though not by much)

13 November 2018

Wintering bees

Is this a good idea? I'm not sure about the ventilation, or lack of it.

Woodpecker repellent jacket made from sheet of damp proof membrane and gaffer tape. Drops over the top and lifts off on seconds

11 November 2018

Candlestick maker

I am ever so slightly perturbed by these candles..... or is it just me? OK, it's me.

17 October 2018


Beekeepers are sounding the alarm about the latest developments in genetically modified pollinators. By 


20 September 2018

Why do we hate wasps and love bees?

From the BBC story, here:  

The best Comment on the story, by far:

749. Posted bySimon Dillon

on2 hours ago
"A new study reveals that wasps are largely disliked by the public, whereas bees are highly appreciated."

In other news, the Pope is Catholic.

Holistic Facialists

Natural Bee Pollen Supplements Snatch Holland & Barrett Healthy Award AND Psychologies Award in One Month!

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

These ethically driven awards are headed up by award winning beauty and wellbeing editor Eminé Ali Rushton, alongside her expert high profile panel of 21 judges made up of a botanist and natural cosmetologist, nutritional therapists, natural make-up artists, holistic facialists and the UK’s most experienced health and beauty journalists, alongside wellbeing authors, respected bloggers and naturopathic industry insiders.


16 September 2018

Wasps v hornets

A friend found and posted this photo. He wrote:

I've posted a photo below which clearly shows the differences between a wasp (little one)  European hornet (big brown thorax and lots of yellow bands)  and Asian hornet (one yellow band dark thorax (note face colours too!).

If I could credit the photographer, I would

13 September 2018

Himalayan Balsam

Interesting chatter on our beekeepers' whatsapp group about Himalyan Balsam:

[22:04, 9/9/2018] For information,  some people are saying bees are coming back to the Hive covered in "white stuff" this is Himalayan Balsom. Mostly collected on River banks. (Know as Ghost Bees.
[22:10, 9/9/2018] : ........why is it on the back of their thorax???
[22:12, 9/9/2018]  Because when the go into the plant they get covered and are unable to "clean it" off themselves,  it's believed that nursery bees remove it when returning to the Hive.
[22:16, 9/9/2018] Moreover, the flower’s stamen hangs above the lower petals so when the bee lands on these petals the stamen moves downwards and ‘stamps’ the back of the bee.
Himalayam Balsam is also an invasive species.
[22:21, 9/9/2018] Yes, I agree, Himalayan balsam is listed under Schedule 9 to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 with respect to England and Wales. As such, it is an offence to plant or otherwise allow this species to grow in the wild. I leave the National Trust to attempt to remove it as I feel I am not qualified and would not want to make it a bigger issue.
[22:24, 9/9/2018] Makes good honey too!👍🏻
[22:26, 9/9/2018] I agree,  I get a good supply for Winter food, and i always leave them a super mixed with Ivy & Balsom. Bees love it.

10 September 2018

Asian hornet

Asian hornet: Fowey nest destroyed as two new sightings confirmed in Liskeard and Hull

Two more sightings of Asian hornets have been confirmed and surveillance activity is underway

05 September 2018

Asian hornet in Cornwall


Asian hornet

03 September 2018

Beekeeping: waxing or waning?

Mildly interesting article in The Times : https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/how-to-get-the-sweet-taste-of-success-when-you-become-a-beekeeper-lfqb7j5x2

Missed a trick with "While enthusiasme for the hobby has waned over the years..." Shome mishtake, surely - waxed would be better - and funnier.

28 August 2018

22 August 2018

On the wall at London Zoo

Furry bumble bees win more hearts than apis mellifera...

20 August 2018

Chris Slade

Came across this blog, https://chrissladesbeeblog.wordpress.com/  If you can get past the self-centred life trivia, there's some half-decent beekeeping info.

16 August 2018

Honey prices

$18.50 for 8oz cut comb...San Francisco, CA

Miel de...

Any clues what these varieties are?

Asian hornet

Spotted by a UK beekeeper holidaying in France

Not Neonicotinoids


From the BBC web site:

Attempts to find a new generation of pesticides to replace neonicotinoids have been dealt a potential blow.
Neonicotinoids are the most commonly used insecticide in the world, but had been linked to bee declines.
Studies suggest a new type of pesticide seen as an alternative to the chemicals, which have been banned in many countries, may have similar risks.
The new insecticides may reduce bumblebee reproduction in the wild, according to a study by UK scientists.
The alternatives had been sought because of the evidence linking neonicotinoids to declines in bee populations - leading to the bans and restrictions on their use.

Small Bees

Bought a 1lb jar of creamed honey from Small Bees at the Saturday Farmers' market in Palo Alto, CA, $15. Very tasty.

11 August 2018


This year's Apiguard treatment is on the hives.

02 August 2018

So here’s how to have honey for breakfast!

A member of the Wimbledon Beekeepers' Association (WBKA) spotted this, and wrote: 

"So here’s how to have honey for breakfast! Only at the best spa hotels though!"

(What kind of hotel admits a WBKA member to breakfast, that's what I want to know...)

05 July 2018

Asian hornet tracking


14 June 2018

Fire pit or burial mound?

Holne Chase Apiary, now full. I'm not sure about the earthworks in the middle. Fire pit? Burial Mound?

13 June 2018

Dangling swarm

How thoughtful of the bees to swarm so tidily, and within reach!

30 May 2018

But when she got there, the cupboard was bare

Here's the swarm notification chain from WhatsApp group:

[10:25, 5/29/2018]  Swarm in SW19 7EP any one available (message is 15 mins old from public)

[10:28, 5/29/2018]  Spoken to the man, swarm on a post about 3ft off the ground about the size of 2 Rugby balls long and 1ft wide

[10:45, 5/29/2018]  Max is en route to collect it.

[11:08, 5/29/2018]  Now THAT is a swarm

[11:48, 5/29/2018]  Update, the rapid response unit (aka Max) attended the location only to find about a cup full of bees left at the location, lots of bees flying around, if they settle Max will re-attend.

[11:49, 5/29/2018] Bad luck Max. Not rapid enough it seems!

15 May 2018

Swarm - three times in the same place...

Picked up a small swarm yesterday evening. That's the third swarm that has arrived in the same garden, three years running. The house owners mentioned that a friend keeps bees near-by... Jus' sayin.'

Oddly, the swarm settled on the ground. The trickiest part was encouraging the bees into the box before the light failed.

08 May 2018

Spilling out of the hive

A nice example of bees spilling out of the hive on a hot day (28C)

04 May 2018


With some justification, Avaaz [https://www.avaaz.org/page/en/] is claiming the ban on neonicotinoids resulted from its people-led campaigns

See https://secure.avaaz.org/campaign/en/save_the_bees_neonics_loc_ns/?slideshow

01 May 2018

Bee chocolate!

From Kew Gardens. What ingredient is NOT included, I wonder? 

Yep, no honey in this, only honey flavour

27 April 2018

Neonics in the news

From the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-43910536

24 April 2018

What I learned from bees

James Reed of Reed Recruitment. I knew his dad, Alec.


How to revive drowsy [bumble] bees...

Let's face it, a teaspoon of sugar is the answer...



28 March 2018

Beekeeping like a girl

Yep, honest: Beekeeping like a girl, by HilaryKearney. Her blog is here: http://beekeepinglikeagirl.com

"My name is Hilary Kearney. I'm the founder of the urban beekeeping business 'Girl Next Door Honey' in San Diego, California. I'm an artist turned beekeeper who practices natural, treatment-free beekeeping. I'm on a mission to help new beekeepers succeed and educate the public about the magic of bees!"

Do bees fly in the rain?

Nice answers to "Do bees fly in the rain?" particularly if you scroll down to review the comments.


The site is published by Rusty Burlew.


26 March 2018

Busy bees

Lost one colony over winter. The hive location is prone to damp, and the very cold snap combined with too much moisture froze them solid. The others - less than six feet away - are busy bees.


0.767033 of what?

On a coffee-cup warmer sleeve produced by IBM


20 March 2018

How it looks is how I feel

Can't remember where I found this!

Land of Spike

Nice blog, http://beesofspike.blogspot.co.uk, though somewhat abandoned (last entry was July 2015)

The Wide-Brimmed Beekeeper

Is this a genuine fashion? Captured from https://www.y-oman.com/2013/05/checkmate/fashion-wide-brimmed-beekeeper/

You gotta like the Old Reid Beekeepery

Old Reid Beekeepery

An amusing bottle: pug-approved, apparently


30 December 2017

Mellifera or Bombis in trouble?


19 December 2017

Normal for Suffolk?


Rivers across the country are "chronically polluted" with pesticides believed to pose a threat to bee populations, a report has found.
The River Waveney on the Norfolk/Suffolk border was found to have the highest levels of neonicotinoids in the UK.
The River Wensum in Norwich, and the River Tame in the West Midlands were also named among the most polluted.
According to figures from UK monitoring data by the European Environment Agency, 88% of sites in Britain were contaminated with neonicotinoids.

12 October 2017

Mumbai's lone beekeeper?

Quite an old post, from 2015, on the Sunday Farmer blog. I shall be in Mumbai, and if I have the opportunity will check on the veracity of his lonesomeness.


07 October 2017

Neonics News

As reported by the BBC
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-41512791, and you can find the original article here: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/358/6359/109

An Inspector Calls

European Foul Brood was discovered in an apiary less than 3 km from our location. The Bee Inspector gave us the all-clear at Cannizaro Park, adding, ominously, that it was not "if" but "when" EFB arrives in our colonies...

Image credit By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24920366

01 October 2017

As usual, I fail to rest my case


Completely ineffectual

This year I have been keeping my bees without a Queen excluder. The result is that all the bees are living in the top of the hives and the brood box down below is almost empty. With far more bees in each hive than expected at this time of year, I have not taken off the supers. What next?

26 September 2017

Famous beekeepers that don't keep bees

The Guardian online shows an article from 2014 entitled

The 10 best famous beekeepers

(Does that headline even make sense?)

Anyway, continuing The Guardian's high tradition of idiocy, the first line of the article comments on Vince Cable: "The business secretary and Liberal Democrat politician doesn’t keep bees."

If you'd like to read more about 'best famous beekeepers' that don't keep bees, here's the link: https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2014/jul/04/the-10-best-famous-beekeepers

25 September 2017

Saving the bees with big data

Saving the bees with big data

Saving The Bees with Big Data and RFID Tags
By Dean Evans, Technology Writer
It is estimated that the annual global crop pollination by bees is worth a staggering £138bn, but bee numbers are in decline. Data analysis is being used to discover why, but how do you track something as small as a bee?


31 August 2017

Naked beekeeping


27 August 2017

I'd wear a bee suit..


04 August 2017

Flow hive

As a fundamentally lazy person, the Flow Hive looks interesting to me... Video from http://beeliciousbees.blogspot.co.uk/

03 August 2017

Honey: A Sensual Journey


Do we have too much time on our hands? "Mr. Patterson harvests honey from hives on the property for spa treatments."

24 July 2017

Best honey in the world

This modestly named blog http://worldbesthoney.blogspot.co.uk/ may be worth a visit

07 July 2017

The Bumbling Beekeeper

Keeping up with the alliterative beekeeper blog theme: http://www.bumblingbeekeeper.com/

Sticky Fingers


If you fancy extracting someone else's honey, here's the answer: http://walworthgarden.org.uk/events/2017/7/15/the-honey-harvest

I admire the £50 charge to do someone else's sticky work.

More neonickery

Worth listening to the first 22 minutes of this episode of BBC Radio 4's Inside Science show, presented by Dr Adam Rutherford: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08wmk5x

06 July 2017

Over 90 degrees and they're bearding

This caught my eye, from http://cpbwarre.blogspot.co.uk/


30 June 2017

In conclusion, or inconclusion, on neonicotinoids

Following an in-depth study of the effect of neonicotinoid pesticides on bees, the conclusion is "Er, dunno."

See  and the full report http://science.sciencemag.org/content/356/6345/1393

20 June 2017

Smoking kills

An ancient beekeeper advised me that "Smoking is bad for both bees and keeper."

Sadly, I've lost touch. He's probably propping up a bar somewhere. Or dead. Or both.