Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My introduction to beekeeping!

I don't think I really knew it at the time but when I think about it my introduction to beekeeping really started thanks to Haslemere Educational Museum.  The museum has had a remarkable observation bee hive for as long as I can remember!  Not just single frames of brood and honey behind some perspex you understand, but a full blown hive with windows on all 4 sides.  You can remove any, or all, of the panels and get a really good look at what's going on inside. I was always fascinated by this.

When I was a kid the hive used to be housed inside the museum, nowadays it has it's own shed in the grounds.  You can while away many hours inside a warm dry shed and watch the bees come and go about their business.

A good friend of mine took her daughters to see the bees this year and they kindly took these pics for me to blog. The Museum is a brilliant local attraction and in 2012 won "The Telegraph Family Friendly Museum Award" or "Britains number one museum for families", as voted by families.  This is a big deal as it was voted No.1 from a not-so-short-list of 600!

All these amazing things we find out about bees and we let this happen...

I despair.  I really do sometimes.

As this article points out scientific data can be, and often sadly is, manipulated to suit the interests of polititians (and the major interest groups that fund them). It seems even the UK government (like all governents they are supposedly there to support the people) is paying no heed to the warnings being made about bee health.

When will a disaster be sufficiently significant for them to take action? Our bees are already struggling to cope against what are proving to be very damaging chemicals. Our urban areas are quickly becoming major sanctuaries for bees, let's hope we won't find they become the only habitat they can survive in.

Why bees behave differently

I always wondered what happened when you made a nuc...

If you remove young bees from a hive for example by relocating one or more frames of bees to a nuc box, the older bees on those frames will fly back to their original home, the donor hive.  So, you would therefore expect to have a surplus of older foraging bees in the donor hive.  I always assumed that some of these older bees went off and did some other jobs for a bit; at least until there were more new bees.  But I didn't know what actually happened. It appears it's all to do with patterns of chemicals that latch on to and regulate certain genes in the bees brains...

So here we have the answer!


Here's a neat idea reported in the Guardian the other day. If you're an aspiring beekeeper, or a beekeeper wanting to help or assist others then you can take a look at this map and see who is in your area. It was pos

OK, so this is an iniative from the UK but there's no reason why it shouldn't be adopted and applied elsewhere.  It's supposed to provide an outlet for people who want to keep bees but do not have the space, and for people who have space but do not have bees!

BeeMatch.com!  or something like that!  I hope it takes off.  Check out the map.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


This week my observation hive spent a week at Tillman Elementary School, in the attentive care of Helen Ermel's 3rd grade class.

The kids asked loads of great questions and wrote me some brilliant letters! Thank you guys!

We're already planning a spring break in the class in 2013!

Honey Harvest - Update

It's been a while since I last posted. I have treated my hives for mites and have lost two queens! Is my queen loss related to the treatment? I don't know, but My feeling is that it is. Next year I will be trying a different non-chemical method of mite management. My preference right now is to cage the queen, but this needs research.

Anyway last Sunday I took off the final supers from my hives at the gardens. Two supers yielded 35lbs (16kgs) of honey. That's a total of about 90lbs (40kgs) in total from one hive - I'm happy with that.

Soy overall haul for 2012 is 255lbs (116kgs) from 3 hives. Great going given the dry mixed up weather.