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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...
Good afternoon, Dear Reader. I trust you are well and that you are ready and prepared for the beekeeping season ahead of us. As I write, a third AH queen has been found - this time in Lancashire of all places. Who knows if it overwintered, or was an 'immigrant' having hitched a lift in with a consignment of veg or logs. My personal take on the AH situation is thus : 1. They are established - so the NBU/DEFRA need to stop pussy-footing around the subject and declare this. 2. By declaring it as established it should raise the flag up the pole for not just early interventions, but communications led by DEFRA and to focus on the plan ( a short one page not 16+ I hear a southern association has already managed to scribe). KISS ! Keep It...
El triángulo mágico. Esta semana tiene lugar una de las tradiciones más arraigadas de Galicia, "O Entroido" aunque la festividad suele ser el próximo martes, hoy tienen lugar numerosos desfiles de disfraces tradicionales y en concreto en el llamado triángulo mágico. Xinzo de Limia y su desfile de "pantallas". Verin y el desfile de "cigarrons" Laza con el desfile de "peliqueiros". En esta imagen puedes ver algunos de los trajes típicos y un mapa con su ubicación. Que este hilo sirva para que cada uno describa las tradiciones de su tierra o las festividades que se realizan.
Starting this blog for those who are interested in skep beekeeping. I do not keep bees in skeps and am quite happy with my Nationals but I get the impression there are plenty on here who might consider the former. From my perspective, if the advice of many on the forum about the more common moveable frame hives cannot sway you, I'd rather that there is some advice to maximise your chances of success and somewhere where questions can be asked without any slanging. The bees come first. I would ask those who might want to discuss on this blog to consider this before responding to others, whatever your view. It is fine to challenge but do it constructively. If someone irks you, be the bigger person. Let's leave the faeces for cladding...
Good morrow Dear Reader. I hope the sun has risen with you and your hay rick is rat free, your cow is managing to keep producing milk from her one remaining udder from the dried straw you've been feeding her over the 'driest summer since '76' and your well hasn't run dry just yet. Why the evocation of days gone by ? Well it does seem to me that with every passing day we appear to be coming closer to calamity day, judgement day, call it what you will. Electricity being the item foremost on my mind, as I use the stuff to extract honey, warm wax, steam clean frames, warm honey to bottle it and do a lot of this by the light of a bulb. How in the name of all that's holy will an 'average' family of 4 be able to pay, from after tax income...
Well, dear reader, it's been another interesting season thus far... A cold winter led to much additional fondant feeding in the early spring, leading to a strong spring flow on the oilseed, there followed 9 weeks of poor weather in June and July that really held back the development of the many nucs I made from the spring splits - a learning there to feed more than I did and continue even when into larger hives. This wasn't helped by the 100+ nucs spread over a fair few apiary sites. Another learning for 2024 - all nucs will be combined to one site for ease of management. The much-planned expansion was delayed and delayed due to trouble finding a willing transport company to relocate a 40' welfare unit to Wiltshire. This finally...
Beemused part 2 I make no apologies for not being much of a biologist and I confess to opening the BBKA Magazine and looking at the detailed pictures of a bees anatomy and letting out a sigh of disappointment knowing that the next few pages will mean little or nothing to me. The closest I come to knowing any details of a bee is when I try to put myself in their position in an effort to decide why they have done what they have managed to do despite my best efforts. As a non academic leaving school with what was then an ‘o’ level in woodwork, this seemed a good way for me to try and fathom out basic beekeeping. Let me give you an example of one of my first views as a bee. ‘Hey girls what goes on?’ some idiot has just taken the roof...
. . This is for discussion of bees that have acquired the ability to cope with varroa without any help. The core assumption is that in the UK and Ireland this has occurred through natural selection for the fittest strain, and any subsequent selection has built on that. The idea is to learn from each-other, what works, and why, in the realm of no-treatment beekeeping. Testimonies, questions, explanations and links to relevant scientific studies are all welcome. I'd like the thread to be a place where the mechanisms that wild populations employ to locate and maintain resistance can be explored, in the belief that that topic holds the key to understanding why no-treatment beekeeping works in some circumstances and not in others.
Good morning Dear Reader, Blink and you'd miss it. January has come and gone in a flash. After a cold start, it then turned wet in these parts with a lot of flooding locally, and now cold but largely dry days on the horizon for the next two weeks or so. Temperatures around average for the time of year. Yet within the next 6-8 weeks the beekeeping season will have started a-fresh. The bees have had their winter fondant top-up and largely looking good from what once can discern from a brief glance on the top of the frames. The bees have been flying on and off but the clusters are still pretty tight and that is good news for it's easy for clusters to break and then the heat gets lost in the colony on milder days before the temperature...
Sometimes I wonder if beekeeping was the hobby for me. I never really meant for it to be anything other than a hive in the garden but we all know what a pie in the sky hope that is! I am lucky to live in the countryside and have been able to give a large part of my garden over to my collection of hives that I try and keep under ten in number. They cause little inconvenience to anyone other than me but I am still on tenterhooks when walking round the garden with family or friends. There is so much about beekeeping that you wish you had known when you started. The simple fact that putting the hives one end of the garden and a major water source like a pond at the other end means that the flight path on a hot sunny day can be more...
;) Starting a new thread here to chart my skep journey. Booked to attend Chris Park's Skep Beekeeping course run through Bees for Development on 30th July: https://www.beesfordevelopment.org/bee-involved/courses/ I have already purchased a skep from a skep maker on etsy rather than these cheap rubbish ones you see online. It's a thing of beauty. It has bamboo skewers through it. I also hand-cloamed it in cow poo. Another member privately messaged me to say that I ought check with the farmer that the cows hadn't recently been wormed as that would affect the biome. I did and it's fine. I'm genuinely in awe of the cloam. I accidentally sprayed the skep with my hose when watering the garden (yes, in April) and the water just trickled off...
Well, Dear Reader, It's been an interesting year hasn't it ? I've actually paused proceedings in the world of beekeeping for a few weeks while I celebrate Christmas and New Year with my boys here, which involves eating a lot of popcorn, fajitas, visits to Ten Pin Bowling and, who could resist, a trip to see Gloucester RFC play at home too on NYE. I think we timed it about right with the events planned as the weather, after a very mild then cold but mild Autumn, finally flipped into rainy and wet days a week ago as the snow melted that fell on 11th December. It looks to be largely the same for the next couple of weeks too into the first weeks of January, although a little colder. The bees haven't clustered - they were busy out...
Musings on a subject I guess I never thought that beekeeping would be easy but then again it never crossed my mind that it would be so hard. It seems to me that it is a hobby that is surrounded by myths and legends that we simply pass on. I started keeping bees over 40 years ago on nothing more than a whim. There was no internet so I trusted the old men round me who puffed on their pipes and whispered words of wisdom in my ear about what I should be doing or should not be doing. When the internet came along many of these myths that I had believed in were dashed to pulp by modern thinking people who had studied beekeeping rather than just muddling along like I did. It amuses me how slow people are to change their methods. So...
Well dear reader, A long story but I am currently signed off work for the time being. A lot going on which has brought on work related stress of the kind I would never believed I would ever have suffered from in the past. Luckily I have a good GP who I managed to see face to face and hopefully this will guide me down a path to recovery. Anyway, enough of my ills. What about the bees ? Having actively kept bees for over 30 years since a young teenager, I've sort of just followed my nose with my learning style. Being told at the first branch I joined back in 1988/89 that my manipulation style was excellent and I should do the exams (when I was revising and doing exams at school) you can imagine I was not impressed and luckily my...
Dear reader This blog entry comes with a READERS WARNING that it might turn your stomach ever so slightly. It discusses items of a health nature. If you wish, turn back now. So it seems I'm fast becoming a liability. Two years ago it was a broken hand that put paid to 8 weeks of beekeeping. This season....another hospitalisation... Don't worry, I haven't become hyper-sensitive, that of every beekeepers' nightmare. No. The problem was much, much smaller. After a day bottling and extracting honey two weeks last Thursday, mid afternoon I was just doing some accounts and invoices, when a sharp stabbing pain in my left hand side almost threw me off my chair. In fact it wasn't long before I was on the floor, doubled up in agony on a pain...
Well Dear Reader, It's almost the longest day and all downhill from there on in as the earth spins on it's axis, wobbles, sneezes, and tips the northern hemisphere into the long slog to Autumn. I often wonder what it's like keeping bees in warmer climes where they have 8-9 months of flows, and swarming seasons, well, pretty much all the time. 7 day inspections ? or just go for numbers and averages. As I found towards the end of last month the weather here in Wiltshire had turned from a glorious spring to a colder June, I turned my attention to my entries to the Royal Bath & West Show's Honey Competition. I'd never entered this before, in fact I hardly enter any shows as they seem to fall at the wrong time in terms of preparations...

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