19 August 2019


I also have MAQS, but they smell so strong I chickened out and went back to Apiguard

16 August 2019

Wimbledon Honey

Found this very nice-looking site, https://www.wimbledonhoney.co.uk/ - these guys must be near me. The video includes a shot of the beekeeper wearing the world's dirtiest gloves.

14 August 2019

Waspery in Jersey


07 August 2019

Buddleia and bumbles

Buddleia was brought to the UK around 1730 and now grows on almost every railway embankment in the country, much to the delight of butterflies and bees.
Bombus terrestris, at a guess

03 August 2019

Roses are red, Lavender is [rather obviously not] blue

At Mayfield Lavender Farm, Banstead.. The place was heaving with honey and bumble bees - not that you can see them in this rotten video of mine. The bumbles were particularly big & beautiful.

Lavender is very obviously not blue.

02 August 2019

Vespa crabro

In Greece I kept an eye out for Vespa velutina - none seen. Plenty of big, beautiful European hornets, Vespa crabro, though - they really are amazing beasties!

Pic from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:AD2009Aug08_Vespa_crabro_01.jpg

30 July 2019

How much does a jar of honey cost?

In Kerkira Airport, duty-free, €3.80/120g, or €31.67 per kg - nice work if you can get it.

29 July 2019

It's All Greek To Me (How much does a jar of honey cost?)

...and here is the beekeeper, selling honey at €8 for 0.5 kg. The honey tasted heavily of pine, or possibly thyme

It's All Greek To Me

A few shots from a local beekeeper's apiary in Corfu. It was about 35C in the shade.

14 July 2019

Enormous swarm of bees causes 'panic' in Limerick

Why is 'panic' in inverted commas? Anyway, here's the enormous swarm: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/crazy-swarm-of-bees-in-limerick-captured-on-camera-1.3952725

I like this bit from the article: "It is understood two local beekeepers arrived soon afterwards to retrieve the bees which are becoming an endangered species across Europe."


I don't normally wear my hair this long. Pic from https://www.aier.org/article/anatomy-moral-panic

07 July 2019

Killer bees

I think this article has been recycled more than Thames water: Those honeybees you’re so worried about? They’re killing off wild bee species



06 July 2019


There are so many videos Out There it's a shame to pick just one juicy morsel...

03 July 2019

Asian hornet


25 June 2019

Weather swings, again

With Paris, France, sweltering in 40+C, the apiary in Wimbledon has finally made it to the low twenties.

And in other news...

24 June 2019

Weather swings

The temp has lurched from 14C to 24C in just a couple of days, and the bees are bringing on queen cells like no tomorrow. I'm guessing that the wet weather preceding means that the flowers' nectaries are full, and the bees are going crazy. Here's that Pagden again:

Image from the very informative http://killowen.com/swarmcontrol.html

21 June 2019

Bee Simulator

Rather obviously, I am one of the last people to discover the Bee Simulator game.

The name reminds me of Fee Waybill's remark about simulated Indian beaver fur: "They don't have beavers in India, so they have to simulate them."

Maybe that's it: I'm simulating being a beekeeper.

17 June 2019

Stings & Puns

I found this excellent piece on bee stings: http://basicbeekeeping.blogspot.com/2008/01/lesson-21-bee-stings.html, written by David & Sheri Burns of Long Lane Honey Bee Farms, Illinois.

And besides, there's a winning pun on the website:

16 June 2019

Ex Machina & swarm control

I quite like this robo-beekeeper video, from Gary Hammond : https://youtu.be/BCReKLV6CB4

Gary's pretty handy with a guitar, too.

13 June 2019

An Inspector Calls

Following a case of EFB at a near-by apiary, the Regional Bee Inspector called. He used a lateral flow device, very similar to a pregnancy test thingy, to check.... and the answer, thank goodness, was negative.

From https://www.filmbankmedia.com/films/archive/details/657-an-inspector-calls

11 June 2019

Urban beekeeping boom is harming native bees, entomologists say

Far more importantly, the Canadian councillor who worries is called Francesco Miele - or "Frank the Honey" to his beekeeping mates...


Urban beekeeping is increasingly popular in Montreal, but the city's opposition party wants to control the practice in order to make room for native bee species. (John Minchillo/Associated Press)

09 June 2019

One Thousand and One Uses for a Hive Tool

I wonder where "patio grouting" falls on the list?

Innovation courtesy my first (and so far only) wife

08 June 2019

Go From Incompetent To Super Effective

The title of this podcast caught my eye: Go From Incompetent To Super Effective, based on Peter Drucker's 1967 book The Effective Executive


The heart of advertising is promise, large promise.
Claiming to be 'The Definitive Guide" is quite something, let alone the assertion that he, or anyone,
knows which are the "right" things... 

05 June 2019


Here's a nice diagram (if it's yours, please let me know and I will gladly add the credit)

04 June 2019

Coutts Skyline Garden

Coutts' Executive Chef Peter Fiori was kind enough to show wife & self around the Skyline Garden. Peter has transformed the bank's roof into a productive, ingenious and bee-friendly paradise.

There's a hive up there too (but I didn't see that, in my proud tradition of incompetence.)

Photo by Marianne Majerus. I was so bowled over by Peter and his garden I forgot to take pics!

02 June 2019

The Apiarist

Here's a nice blog: https://theapiarist.org/

The blog format doesn't do the content any favours; it would be better as a book.

Remember books? (Hyperlinks are great, but give me an Index any day.™)

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of hyperlinks, who
(a) is not the author of "The Apiarist" and
(b) looks like the brother I don't have.

01 June 2019


OK, not really bees, but fun, all the same.


31 May 2019


As you might expect, this Buckfast blog is well worth the reading time: https://www.buckfast.org.uk/bee-blog

And this Guardian article is worth a look, too:

30 May 2019

Ten Brilliant Beekeepers' Blogs

Naturally, Incompetent Beekeeper does not feature on the list of "Ten Brilliant Beekeepers' Blogs."



(And there goes my chance of being included...)

28 May 2019


It's heartwarming that after a few million years' evolution, this is what humans do.

How much does a jar of honey cost? Quanto costa un vasetto di miele?

In a long-running theme, here's another "How much does a jar of honey cost?" post. In Italy, it's €7.50 for 500g.

Picture from a WBKA member. No names, no pack-drill.

26 May 2019

BBKA Basic

Another excellent course morning for the BBKA Basic at WBKA. It's astonishing how little I have learned in 15 years of beekeeping, and how many bad habits I have collected.

23 May 2019

Time Out

In case you missed it... At £45 a go, that's pretty good money, honey.

Spotted by a WBKA member

18 May 2019

Swarmy Hatfield

These bees chose a pavement, of all places, to land...

From https://www.whtimes.co.uk/news/bee-swarm-on-pavement-in-hatfield-1-6051789

And here's the video: https://www.whtimes.co.uk/news/bee-swarm-on-pavement-in-hatfield-1-6051789?jwsource=cl

17 May 2019

Imperial Purple Part II

Watching swarms walk in ... wonderful!

From a WBKA member. I wonder where the silk comes from?
(Better check the curtains. Or the bedsheets.)

15 May 2019

I, Beebot

How about this: Can AI help stop bee extinction? (To save you reading the article, the short answer is 'Yes.')



13 May 2019

London Bee Corridor & the Brent Council Waggle Dance

The "London Bee Corridor" sounds too good to be true; it's certainly a snappy name. To point the bees the right way, I wonder if the Brent Councillors will indulge in a collective waggle-dance... They could sell tickets.


Councillor Krupa Sheth (LB Brent) says the "bee corridor" will be ready by the summer

12 May 2019

Before you start keeping bees

After keeping (and losing and killing and catching and nurturing) bees for nearly 15 years, I thought I'd have a crack at the BBKA Basic Assessment.

Pic from https://www.thespruce.com/beginners-guide-to-beekeeping-3016857 
The clue's in the name