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EastEndBees

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Hi all
Having started keeping bees almost 20 years ago at age 12 in Germany I’m now settled in east London and looking to get back into it (visiting the bees back in Germany doesn’t quite give me the fix I need!).
Very much on the scout for a good location nearby at the moment and then hoping that what I know from Germany works just as well here as it does back home! I already noticed that there are some differences between UK and German beekeeping and am very much looking forward to discussing experiences and exchange ideas.
I’ve been keeping bees mostly in German standard hives (frames are slightly bigger than BS) of 11 frames in each box, same size throughout brood and honey boxes, with two brood chambers or three as I usually don’t use a Queen excluder. I’ve also dabbled with Dadant hives and ended up preferring them as they are so much easier to handle and have plenty of space, so I’m planning on starting on Dadant with 12 brood frames here as well (I know, a daring choice!).
If you’ve got any tips and tricks to share please do - I’ve already signed up to the LBKA and look forward to attending the next meeting :)
 
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BeeAdmin

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Hi and welcome. You still have bees in Germany?
 

Erichalfbee

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Welcome to the forum
Please do tell us about your beekeeping in Germany. Many beekeepers in the U.K. consider you as a country streets ahead of us in your bee breeding programmes.
I hope you enjoy the forum and your bees-to-be here.
 

EastEndBees

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Many thanks for the warm welcome. Bee breeding programmes in Germany are indeed quite sophisticated I would say, and the quality of bees is generally great. I think there are many reasons why that is so, starting with a pretty much national focus on using solely Carniolan/Carnica bees since the Second World War, combined with a very German pragmatic yet scientific approach to breeding. The record keeping in respect of Carniolan Queen breeders is indeed astonishingly complex, there is an abundance of protected island and inland mating sites and Queen breeders are supported by a number of university-led beekeeping institutes as well as rigorous and standardised testing of queens before they can be declared as Carniolan breeding queens.
For buckfast breeders pretty much the same is true - there is a very high level of organisation amongst breeders and centralised record keeping, as well as a lot of passionate breeders working across borders to perfect their lines.
 

pargyle

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Hi all
Having started keeping bees almost 20 years ago at age 12 in Germany I’m now settled in east London and looking to get back into it (visiting the bees back in Germany doesn’t quite give me the fix I need!).
Very much on the scout for a good location nearby at the moment and then hoping that what I know from Germany works just as well here as it does back home! I already noticed that there are some differences between UK and German beekeeping and am very much looking forward to discussing experiences and exchange ideas.
I’ve been keeping bees mostly in German standard hives (frames are slightly bigger than BS) of 11 frames in each box, same size throughout brood and honey boxes, with two brood chambers or three as I usually don’t use a Queen excluder. I’ve also dabbled with Dadant hives and ended up preferring them as they are so much easier to handle and have plenty of space, so I’m planning on starting on Dadant with 12 brood frames here as well (I know, a daring choice!).
If you’ve got any tips and tricks to share please do - I’ve already signed up to the LBKA and look forward to attending the next meeting :)
Welcome to the best bee forum in the UK ... possibly in the world. We are envious of the high standards of beekeeping and bee breeding in Germany ...I'm sure you will have lots of ideas for us to share - although we have a few good ideas that come out of this forum as well.

You are looking at Dadant hives ...? They are not that common in the UK - if you are looking for bigger boxes and a more common format you may wish to think about Langstroths or 14 x 12 Nationals. The cost of equipment is high in the UK so unless you intend importing your kit from the EU you might find that national or langstroth kit is cheaper than the less common Dadant ?

Plus, of course, if you have a more common frame size it makes buying bees on frames a bit easier.

Good luck with your new bee journey, do tell us how you get on.
 

EastEndBees

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Welcome to the best bee forum in the UK ... possibly in the world. We are envious of the high standards of beekeeping and bee breeding in Germany ...I'm sure you will have lots of ideas for us to share - although we have a few good ideas that come out of this forum as well.

You are looking at Dadant hives ...? They are not that common in the UK - if you are looking for bigger boxes and a more common format you may wish to think about Langstroths or 14 x 12 Nationals. The cost of equipment is high in the UK so unless you intend importing your kit from the EU you might find that national or langstroth kit is cheaper than the less common Dadant ?

Plus, of course, if you have a more common frame size it makes buying bees on frames a bit easier.

Good luck with your new bee journey, do tell us how you get on.

Thanks for the welcome!
I’m conscious that Dadant is an oddball here and I was indeed intending to have stuff shipped over from Germany where it’s just so much cheaper, regardless of transport costs…
I think Langstroth is a bit too small unless you have a double brood chamber which I want to avoid and it wouldn’t work with the method I have in mind. 14x12 would be better but I think that the frames are a very awkward shape to handle (I had deep German standard boxes at one point and the frames are roughly the same size (nearly square) and they just didn’t seem very sturdy/squash bees because of the long leverage down the side etc.). I was considering commercial hives but again possibly a bit too small for what I have planned 😅. The good thing is that a BS frame neatly fits into a Dadant frame with a bit of wire so rehoming a BS hive at some point should be straightforward! Alternatively the langstroths also fit and the hive can be expanded with Dadant frames so that should also work :)
 

ericbeaumont

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Dadant is an oddball here
It could be a good choice: fewer boxes to have to play with and plenty of brood space, though shifting a honey box will need two people. Was popular among bee farmers years ago when honey flows were strong - clover, for example.

Forage could be an issue in East London. Where are you, roughly?
 

EastEndBees

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It could be a good choice: fewer boxes to have to play with and plenty of brood space, though shifting a honey box will need two people. Was popular among bee farmers years ago when honey flows were strong - clover, for example.

Forage could be an issue in East London. Where are you, roughly?
Hi Eric

I’ve done Dadant before (as well as using honey boxes on my German standard hives which are slightly bigger than Nationals) and so far I’ve been able to lift them by myself even if they’re stacked above my head! They’re not that heavy full, about 20-25kg.
I’m in Hackney Wick sandwiched between Victoria park with its lime trees and the Olympic Park/Hackney marshes. From looking at the flora it would seem that the honey flow should be fairly steady, from maple and cherry in Mid-April through to about now when the lime trees finish up. There are plenty of wild meadows in the Olympic park so pollen should be available until late in the year, and clover is growing in abundance on the fields (unless they dry out).
There’s been a lot of talk about bee theft locally and it makes me wonder whether a hive that’s entirely incompatible with others might be an advantage in this regard - it’s definitely a one way street, with a bit of creativity I can incorporate nationals and langstroth but there’s no proper way to fit a Dadant in either really.
 

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It could be a good choice: fewer boxes to have to play with and plenty of brood space, though shifting a honey box will need two people.
Honey supers for Dadant contain frames of half the size of the brood box frames, so yes heavy when full but perfectly doable. I can't imagine lifting a brood box full with honey though...that would be extremely heavy. And I only work on 10 frame Dadant rather than the 12 EastEndBees is talking about!
 

EastEndBees

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Honey supers for Dadant contain frames of half the size of the brood box frames, so yes heavy when full but perfectly doable. I can't imagine lifting a brood box full with honey though...that would be extremely heavy. And I only work on 10 frame Dadant rather than the 12 EastEndBees is talking about!
I totally agree - a brood box full of honey is definitely something to avoid but shouldn’t happen in any event!
 

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There’s been a lot of talk about bee theft locally and it makes me wonder whether a hive that’s entirely incompatible with others might be an advantage in this regard
Not really - the usual MO is to shook swarm them on to new frames before selling on.
 

Murox

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Hi Eric
I’ve done Dadant before (as well as using honey boxes on my German standard hives which are slightly bigger than Nationals) and so far I’ve been able to lift them by myself even if they’re stacked above my head! They’re not that heavy full, about 20-25kg.
I’m in Hackney Wick sandwiched between Victoria park with its lime trees and the Olympic Park/Hackney marshes. From looking at the flora it would seem that the honey flow should be fairly steady, from maple and cherry in Mid-April through to about now when the lime trees finish up. There are plenty of wild meadows in the Olympic park so pollen should be available until late in the year, and clover is growing in abundance on the fields (unless they dry out).
There’s been a lot of talk about bee theft locally and it makes me wonder whether a hive that’s entirely incompatible with others might be an advantage in this regard - it’s definitely a one way street, with a bit of creativity I can incorporate nationals and langstroth but there’s no proper way to fit a Dadant in either really.
I used to think that too, and it might be ok for some tricenarians and quadragenarians but the onboard elfandsafety department began to think twice when sexagenarianism set in: at tail-end of septuagenarianism I respect my body more and limit myself to less. For octos and nonas its probably a nogo zone.
 

EastEndBees

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I used to think that too, and it might be ok for some tricenarians and quadragenarians but the onboard elfandsafety department began to think twice when sexagenarianism set in: at tail-end of septuagenarianism I respect my body more and limit myself to less. For octos and nonas its probably a nogo zone.
I very much agree - I’ve been trying to convince my dad to use shallow supers but despite him being 65, he still prefers to lug around 25kg supers every summer…
 

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sandwiched between Victoria park with its lime trees and the Olympic Park/Hackney marshes
Good spot.

I had a deal to keep bees in the Olympic Park the year after the event, when the original wildflower planting was in full flow.

Contractors funded four colonies & kit, but in the first winter water rats went up into them and that was that. Since that time the main buildings and arena have had persistent and significant infestations of mice and rats.

I looked closer at the comb damage and discovered frame wires pointing up and neat cuts in the combs. Evidently a hungry (probably homeless) human had spotted an opportunity when leaves were off the trees. As soon as the park office heard of the event a golf cart turned up pronto; in it was the head of security and a sidekick: who are you? they said, ex-military style; who are you? said I, not to be out-done.

Once they acknowledged that a security breach wasn't going to brighten their day, I was told that the Orbital Mittal helter-skelter has a thermal imaging camera that could detect the heat of a hive a quarter of a mile distant. The nearby Chobham Academy housed the US athletes and was built to withstand military-grade attack.

The contractor couldn't find a better site for the hives and so the project ended; there is currently a beekeeper on the western edge, outside the Park, a small community apiary in the Olympic Village, and a beekeeper at the Hackney Tree Nursery to the North, running Warré hives.

honey flow should be fairly steady, from maple and cherry in Mid-April through to about now when the lime trees finish
You'll get a longer supply than that: cherry and willow in Hackney starts much earlier, sweet chestnut and ivy are yet to flower, and there are plenty of gardens nearby. I have a couple of colonies on contract at Well Street - to the West of the Wick - and they each produce 100lbs regularly.

I believe that the OP greenspace is now managed by different contractors and that the original wildflower planting by Nigel Dunnett is much reduced, no doubt due to cost of maintenance.
 
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EastEndBees

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The contractor couldn't find a better site for the hives and so the project ended; there is currently a beekeeper on the western edge, outside the Park, a small community apiary in the Olympic Village, and a beekeeper at the Hackney Tree Nursery to the North, running Warré hives.

You'll get a longer supply than that: cherry and willow in Hackney starts much earlier, sweet chestnut and ivy are yet to flower, and there are plenty of gardens nearby. I have a couple of colonies on contract at Well Street - to the West of the Wick - and they each produce 100lbs regularly.

I believe that the OP greenspace is now managed by different contractors and that the original wildflower planting by Nigel Dunnett is much reduced, no doubt due to cost of maintenance.

Thanks Eric - this is super helpful to know. I have spotted some additional hives near where I am so I'm definitely not planning on keeping more than say 4 hives, really don't want to overcrowd the area. Finding a good location has been very challenging though as I can't keep them where I live and have been turned away by a number of places in the area that I thought might be a good fit. I'll keep trying though as there should be some more options - there are plenty of flat rooftops in this area which should keep them out of reach from all sorts of pests, human or otherwise!

Also good to know that there seems to be plenty of forage to go around. I've been spoilt in Germany where my family still keeps bees - the weather is actually remarkably similar to London there but we have incredible flows in the spring and then acacia and lime trees, so close to 200lbs per year is possible! Plus it keeps them busy and they're not thinking about swarming too much, which helps :)
 

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I've been spoilt in Germany where my family still keeps bees - the weather is actually remarkably similar to London there but we have incredible flows in the spring and then acacia and lime trees, so close to 200lbs per year is possible!
You’ve probably been spoilt with your bees too.
Are you going to stick with Carnica?
 

EastEndBees

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You’ve probably been spoilt with your bees too.
Are you going to stick with Carnica?

I’m actually a big Buckfast fan! The Carnicas in Germany are great and the friendliest bees you could imagine but I’ve been completely blown away by Buckfast queens I get from Paul Jungels (or his distributors now that he doesn’t sell directly anymore) in Luxembourg.

I was going to see what the UK has on offer though - a lot of interesting stuff seems to be happening in terms of queen breeding. Also not sure how to get the ladies into the country from continental Europe, I suppose it would still be possible somehow though.
 

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