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Beekeeping on the titterstone Clee hill

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Hi folks, I've wanted to start a blog about beekeeping on the Clee and surrounding area for a while now.. So here goes.

It is definitely interesting beekeeping at 450 metres on a hill, most days its windy and when it rains up here it rains, you can travel down the road 1 mile and you get to the cloud line which is about 700ft high, you almost go down through the cloud and below in the valley its a lovely sunny day calm and usually 3 degrees warmer.

Some times it can be the other way around, you can be above the cloud, and you look down to a sea of white cloud with the distant hills and mountains poking above like dark still giants.
And you have the sun here which is good for the hives to warm up.

There's a saying every 1000ft you climb you lose 3 degrees in temperature, this stands pretty much true, although I've travelled to Ludlow 7 miles away down in the valley and it's been 5 degrees Walmer maybe that's down to it being a town and having alot of concrete jungle.

On to...

Best laid plans of bees and men

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Yesterday was harvest time for my bees at the farm. Assisted by my long suffering partner, we drove the twenty miles from Birmingham. As usual, blue sky quickly turned to grey, then positively dark! Rain was not far behind and we nearly turned back. However, we decided to press on. Lucky we did, as it did eventually stop. We ended up with a window of a few hours to work with before the 'real' rain arrived.
I cannot say that it was the easiest harvest I have ever done, as two hives were particularly nasty. I think that the weather was the reason. It was not raining during this period, but had been before we arrived. The the main bulk came in later, just after I had called a halt. The bees obviously knew heavier rain was coming and were not at all happy having their roofs taken off. We got five hives sorted, with no stings and brought back over a hundred pounds of honey. Processing has begun!

Hard day!

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Went to my farm apiary today. First time for three weeks, due to inclement weather and plague restrictions. Last time i was there I expected to be harvesting, but it was a tad too early. Plenty of honey, but not all capped. Decided to leave it for a while, as it is a new area for me to be operating in. Best to be sure? This time, greeted by the usual frenetic activity seen on the other two sites. I had only gone down with some extra hive-benches and to do a light inspection. Despite the previous few weeks weather, I found out that all the supers were now totally stacked with mainly sealed honey. I already have jars and labels ready, but maybe not enough. I think that things are about to get even more busy!
I then dropped in to my allotments, where I also have hives, to water some greenhouse plants. What a mistake to make! A large swarm had landed in someones plot. As I practice very strict hive-population control there, I was pretty certain they were not mine. I dropped the swarm...

New to bee keeping

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Hi I'm Dan and I am based in Norden near Rochdale.
I'm completely new to bee keeping but I'm interested in learning . I have an acre of land with trees hedges and wild flowers.
I guess the first step for me is to attend a basic bee keeper course . Can anyone advise me on when and where I might be able to fine one?
Many thanks.

Two years in and I think I am queenless!

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This is aimed at bee-keepers with one or two years experience who may feel that bee-keeping is not as easy as it appeared! None of what follows is intended as anything other than tips for an easier life. My methods will not suit everyone so please pick out the parts that are relevant to you and adapt them if necessary to suit your own situation.

We all know that a hive needs a queen to survive and that is why, when we think our hive has no eggs and diminishing brood, as relative beginners, we panic! What has happened to my queen? Did I kill her at the last inspection? Has she swarmed? What am I going to do?

How do we know if there is a queen in the hive? In your first couple of years, and beyond, queens can be illusive to find in a hive full of bees. I always seem to have a different hive each year where I may go several inspections before I see the queen whilst in others I see them every time. It is obviously easier to see a marked queen but I am not going into the marking of...

Getting close to the equinox...

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Well the season progresses at pace

Here in N Wiltshire the OSR is fading and the winter field beans are flowering producing their watery dark nectar and I’ve heard Lime is also flowing - will check on an apiary this week that has 100 or so in neighbouring parkland to see if it is indeed in flow..

We had a flow from hawthorn - the one year in 5 and it’s left some colonies on no fewer than 6 supers and one with 7. And it’s only 31 May...

Worrying to me is the blackberry starting to flower. It seems 2-3 weeks ahead of last season and the white clover is also out in places too, looking lush at the moment but unless we get some decent moisture it’ll soon burn off, and the summer flowers will also struggle as it’s very dry.

At my paddock the springs have dried up and the flow off the old airfield drain has almost stopped which is rare.

Plenty of activity in the bee-yards. No sooner than I relocated two swarms from beside my lock up that had found their way in to old nucs full of...

Dead Beehive: Cleaning Tools You Need

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Sometimes in beekeeping, luck is just not on your side, and you find a beehive has died out. Surviving winter in my first year of beekeeping was something I wanted very much to see in my honey bee colonies. I made a lot of preparations for the colonies but still ended up with two colonies out of the game by the end of winter.
I was lucky that the colonies had not died from the disease. I guessed condensation or poor ventilation to be the causes. In subsequent years, all colonies have successfully wintered. You could bet that experience with the colonies and knowing how the honey bees behave helps me get them through winter safely. Recently, I have felt confident enough and implemented major buildups in late winter. The colonies I tried it on sprung their way into Spring and gave bountiful harvests that year.
The experience of having to deal with two dead beehives was harrowing. However, I got it done. For that time you might find yourself in a sad situation, here are the major...

Terramycin to Treat Bacterial Honey Bee Diseases

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Diseases of honey bees are caused by various agents including bacteria and viruses. Some other diseases are caused by fungal infections. The bacterial ones are the most devastating. Their effect is due to impacting the brood of honeybees. By denying the honey bee colony new bees to replace the aging and dying ones, the diseases cause a quick decline in the overall health and strength of the beehive colony they infect.
American foulbrood and European foulbrood are the most famous diseases of honey bees caused by bacteria. In the American version of the disaster, the larva of honey bees dies at the pupal or pre-pupal stages. In the Ropiness test, the thread of liquefied larva remains stretches to about 3-5 centimeters long! It can be confused with an opportunistic infection of European foulbrood. The disease identified as American Foulbrood is arguably the most widespread and deadly disease of honey bees. The spores of the bacteria that cause it can remain viable for up to 50 years...

Why Bears and Bees Don’t Mix

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In the beekeeping operation, one of the biggest enemies of honey bees out here is the bear. It is a notorious predatory animal on honey bees. The brood of honey bees and honey stored in the beehive is at risk if a bear reaches a beehive. Stings from honey bees do not penetrate most areas of the bear’s surface. The lucky stings to the face and nose area of the bear are often endured in exchange for the food the bear knows it will get from the beehive.
As winter approaches, bears must build up nutrient reserves in their bodies. They do this in preparation for hibernating. A honey bee larva has high protein content. Bears eat the larvae if they reach it. It is their main target. If the bear can reach stored honey in the beehive, it considers it a bonus. Sadly, Bears seem to be able to remember beehive locations. Once a bear has been to your apiary out here, your best option starts with moving the apiary to a new location. After hibernation, bears are also known to want to restore lost...

Beehive Conditions Control

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A strong and healthy honey bee colony is important for the best productivity. It ensures your beekeeping operation is able to meet the costs and demands of running it.
If you haven honey bee colonies that are not living in a poorly managed space, the colony can get weak quickly or over a period of time. The beehive you are keeping the colony in requires to be well made and the beehive environment well controlled.
Honey bees do most of the work required for environmental conditions stabilization in the beehive. Sometimes, however, a little help from us beekeepers is needed. The major areas to keep in mind are;
• Aeration – Make sure the beehive is well aerated. Honey bees are living organisms and require oxygen for their metabolism. Fresh air entering the beehive is necessary for the maintenance of optimum oxygen levels in the beehive. Carbon dioxide is one of the products of honey bee activity. Its accumulation in the beehive can be fatal for honey bees.
• Temperature control –...

Beekeeping Benefits: Why Beekeepers Do It

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Many people ask me why beekeeping is my preferred agricultural practice. They often cite the possibility of getting stung and ask if it pays off against the possible benefits of beekeeping.
My answer is always unique depending on who is asking, but it generally always involves mentioning a benefit or two of beekeeping.
After the benefits, I inform the person asking that the benefits are enough for me to practice and love beekeeping.
To use this tactic when you meet non-beeks out there, here are a few benefits from my arsenal;
• Bees can bring communities together. They help the beekeeper integrate better with the society around them. Every once in a while, you make a trip to gift neighbors some honey or reach out to the community around you as part of apiary safety and security. It helps with the maintenance of cordial relations too.
• Watching bees from a distance is very calming. When stressed, a visit to the apiary can help you relieve stress by engaging you in physical activity...

One queen cell

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When I inspected my hive a week or so ago there was one queen cup with an egg in it at the top of a frame. I looked again a few days later and the egg was gone. I noticed today, though, that there was royal jelly in the bottom of the cup. I couldn't see ant larvae. Help please? No sign of any other queen cells.

I've got Hives! Well put some ointment on then....

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I already had a total of around fifteen hives, various parts and some nucleus boxes. Most parts were either pine or cedar. All of it was a bit tatty and over the years had got worn and warped.
I decided that the new project would be built 'from the ground up,' so I started to think about hives. I decided that whatever type I bought, that I would go for polystyrene. Having lost a few colonies over the years to inclement weather, I could see the advantages of instant insulation. I know that there are pluses and minuses, regarding poly hives, but I decided they were going to work for me.
As I think I have already said, I toyed with the idea of using Langstroths or even Dadant. The problem is the location of my new apiary which is in the middle of nowhere, in a wood. I may also be moving colonies around at certain times in the future. I decided that I would stick to lighter and more compact Nationals for the moment. I may try Langstroths out in the future.

I've got Hives! Well put some ointment on then....

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I already had a total of around fifteen hives, various parts and some nucleus boxes. Most parts were either pine or cedar. All of it was a bit tatty and over the years had got worn and warped.
I decided that the new project would be built 'from the ground up,' so I started to think about hives. I decided that whatever type I bought, that I would go for polystyrene. Having lost a few colonies over the years to inclement weather, I could see the advantages of instant insulation. I know that there are pluses and minuses, regarding poly hives, but I decided they were going to work for me.
As I think I have already said, I toyed with the idea of using Langstroths or even Dadant. The problem is the location of my new apiary which is in the middle of nowhere, in a wood. I may also be moving colonies around at certain times in the future. I decided that I would stick to lighter and more compact Nationals for the moment. I may try Langstroths out in the future.
The next problem...

Taking a chance.

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I was forced to leave my job. Not a moment too soon really. Then had a spell of potentially serious illness. They call me 'Lucky!'
I'm better now. Last year I learned that I had a small pension that I could cash. Obviously I thought 'Wine....women....song' at first. However, my partner was not happy with the 'women' aspect and pointed out that I actually make enough wine to float a frigate. As for 'song?'.........Nahhh!
I decided that putting together a bee-keeping business would be better at this time. The first reason to do this was the break from the E.U. Imports of cheap foreign honey may well be affected by tariffs and increased transport costs? The importation of bees from the likes of Italy could also be in the balance. So to me, it could be the time to get into this underestimated farming sector. Did you know that we only produce 14% of the honey we consume in the UK? 50% of the honey imported comes from Europe. The rest comes from Turkey, the...

Introduction: Woodside Bees.....a new venture.

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OK.....I think I made a mistake. I should have 'blogged' my intentions and plans here, before saying anything on the general forum.
This is me: 62 years old. previously a manager in the care-industry. Before that, 20+years as a landscaper/builder. Ran my own business.
Before that, trained as an artist. Huntin' shootin' an' fishin' all my life....often for a livin'! Came to beekeeping later than I should have, given the opportunities I had for that, 25 years ago! Wrong time.....wrong place perhaps?
Now.....unemployed....unemployable. Will retire in a few years, so thought.......GO FOR IT AS A BEEKEEPER!!!!!
I was ready to set up a beekeeping venture over three years ago, but a series of medical mishaps and bad luck delayed this, till now.
This was the plan.....this is STILL the plan:

I set up an apiary, totally separate from the other two apiaries I have. They can always be a 'back-up,' but I do not want them to be commercially dependable to the...

More beekeeping as not in paid work

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I havent had a proper paid job since the end of November, being self employed is tricky, and others in household are not net contributors, so times have been lean.

I have been trying to make a bit of money from the bees, as lentils are delicious, but you don't want to eat pulses at every meal. So far, I upped the price of my honey by 5% on 1st April and have been making up nucs which I am now selling. Neither of these activities will make me rich, but it has been a fantastic Spring and I've really enjoyed being outside with the bees during lockdown.

Interesting how long talking to people about buying and looking after nucs takes, but I feel happier knowing the girls will be going to a good home and be properly looked after.

Went out to collect a swarm today. The orginal prime swarm had gone, but there was another cast swarm about 50 yds away. I had stopped collecting other people's swarms because of the disease risk, but didn't want them just left there or going feral...

Apis Donau Queens....

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Bit of a hi-jack here but has anyone received their queen this year from him? I ordered in February and emailed him 2 weeks ago but no word of anything?
True to form then normally turn up as a surprise!!!!worth the wait though.

Two years in and can I stop them swarming?

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This is aimed at bee-keepers with one or two years experience who may feel that bee-keeping is not as easy as it appeared. None of what follows is intended as anything other than tips for an easier life. My methods will not suit everyone so please pick out the parts that are relevant to you and adapt them if necessary to suit your own situation.-

Swarms have been dealt with admirably in the last couple of issues so I want to try and tell you a few things that might not have cropped up and that as a beginner might be worth considering. And try and mention a few things that others forget.

You should know by now why bees swarm. It is their method of reproduction and once bees have it in their minds, much like teenagers, the more you try and stop them doing it the more they seem to want to do it. For that very reason you will never stop bees swarming. All you can do is try and control it to some extent.

I am not going to explain all the various methods of swarm control. There are...

Queen cells and hive splitting

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Hi,
Today I noticed a queen cell with a larvae in it at the bottom of a frame. Is it too late to do a simple hive split for swarm control? If yes, is there a simple way to stop swarming? I would do Snelgrove II method but I often struggle to spot the Queen, so might have problems when returning her to original location.
Any suggestions gratefully received.

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