Friday, 25 April 2014

First inspection.

So I carried out not just my first inspection of the year...but my first solo inspection EVER. After all, I did only get the bees last August!!

Anyway I swallowed the nerves and got on with it.

I had some company too as John Perring came along to take a few snapshots.

I am going to share some of those amazing photos with you now.

bees suit, bee keeping, bee hives
All kitted out and ready to inspect!!

The inspection was quite uneventful in as much as there were no surprises, neither of us got stung and the bees were calm and happy throughout. Hey, I even managed to keep my smoker would have been so proud Jez!! :-)

so I hope you enjoyed the photos and I would just like to thank John Perring for letting me have some of the wonderful shots that he took.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Still waiting for an uneventful inspection

Another update from Stewart...never a dull moment in Bee keeping!!!

Yet again my bees are up to their tricks. On inspection today one hive which I have as a brood and a half were making swarm preparations with queen cells on the underside of the super frames being used for the 'half', so much for a bigger hive preventing swarming ! Artificial swarm control later in the week then.

capped cells with a developing queen.
Can you spot the queen cell??
Another hive are also superseding their queen and have made three or four supersedure cells, one of which is capped. Attached is a photo of one of the capped cells with a developing queen.

Still waiting for an uneventful inspection.


Monday, 14 April 2014

The Wonder of Bees

Tonight starting on BBC FOUR is a 4 part series I think you all might 'bee' interested in.

The Wonder of Bees with Martha Kearney

the bees didn't read that book!!
Who says bees only build down???
BBC Four, 8:00pm.

Martha Kearney's year gets off to a bad start when unseasonal snow in spring threatens to kill the bee colonies she keeps in her garden in Suffolk. With help from a master beekeeper Martha feeds her bees and takes one of the hives to a wildflower meadow at a neighbour's house along with two brand new hives.

She discovers the intricate hierarchy within the bee colony and learns how the organisation of the hive has become a metaphor for human society. At a London school she learns the secrets of urban bees' success even while bees in the country as a whole are in decline. The episode ends with three new hives established on a wildflower meadow, ready to start producing classic British wildflower honey

To learn more , have a sneak peak or find it on the iplayer just go here where you will also find a link to BBC Nature; Bees that is really interesting too.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Ready to 'super' up!!!

Well we have got to that time of year again where the bees are getting out and there is plenty of them to feast on. Of course this means that we need somewhere for them to put there honey stores so I got busy making my frames. Last year when I first got my bees it took me an hour to build the first frame. I have gotten more efficient and confident now though and I am building on average ten an hour!!
Beehive frame materials and building

Beehive frame materials and building

Beehive frame materials and building

Beehive frame materials and building

Beehive frame materials and building

Beehive frame materials and building

Beehive frame materials and building

Beehive frame materials and building

Beehive frame materials and building

Beehive frame materials and building
Just as well I got quicker as I needed to build 48 super frames and brood frames. If you want a quick guide on how to put them together then you can find one here. I have to admit to not putting the full 11 pins in my frames so I guess I will just have to see how they hold up!!
I am now all ready with my supers...lets just hope the weather co-operates. Don't the completed frames look lovely!!

Friday, 11 April 2014

Reporting suspect sightings of the Asian hornet

Asian Hornet
Asian Hornet

Many Beekeepers may be aware that, the Asian hornet, Vespa velutina, is a predator of honey bees and other beneficial insects. It has recently extended its geographical range from Asia to mainland Europe following an accidental introduction to France, and is now also present in Spain, Belgium, Portugal and Italy. Adult hornets are highly mobile; the rate of spread across France is approximately 100 km/year. There is concern that this exotic insect could reach the UK, either by hitching a ride on imported goods or simply by flying across the Channel.

The message to Beekeepers from the NBU is as follows:

• Now is the ideal time of year to look out for emerging queens, who can build new nests;
• Make sure you know how to recognise Asian hornets – a very helpful ID sheet can be downloaded from the NNSS website at
• Know where to report sightings:
• Our best defence against the Asian hornet is to quickly detect any arrivals and prevent them from establishing;
• Trapping is expected to aid this;
• Please visit the Asian hornet pages on BeeBase click here to read updated guidance for beekeepers, including information on early monitoring and trap design. You can also access the full Response Plan through these pages.

Kind regards,

National Bee Unit.
The above e-mail was sent to all beekeepers but I think it is important that every one be aware of this as we are a minority and I think the public helping to keep an eye out would be of great help. According to this it has not yet reached the U.K. and I sincerely hope they are right. Whilst looking for a little more info on the Internet I came across a report that states there is a possibility that one was sighted last year and while the report was never confirmed I have included the link below as there is a lot of information that I found interesting and thought you may too. It also has a very good down loadable link to help with identifying the hornet.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Queen Bee Marking.

A little update on what a couple of our members got up to over the weekend!!
John Perring came round and we went through my hives to mark the Queens. We only managed to find the Queen in one of three hives and after a bit of faffing we hesitantly marked her (for both of us this was our first Queen marking !!). Our paint job was a bit of a bodge but it does the job and I think we'll be better next time.

 John took a photo of the unfortunate Queen and also some of the bees bringing in loads of pollen from the Oil Seed Rape they were busy working.
Full pollen sacs on a worker bee.
Full pollen sacs on a worker bee.

probably from nearby Oil Seed Rape fields.
Plenty of pollen being brought in, probably from
nearby Oil Seed Rape fields.

The newly marked queen in the crown of thorns.
The newly marked queen in the crown of thorns.

Bees fanning at the entrance of the hive.
Thanks Stewart Maher and John Perring for sharing the  experience and photos with us!