Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Honeybee's book review

 This is a wonderful collection of books for children ranging from 5-7 years old. Unfortunately I have only found them available for Kindle/e-readers but the fact that if you have kindle unlimited you can download them for free it is a great way to teach younger children more about bees in a way that they can easily understand which is also a lovely visual experience for them.

If you don't have Kindle unlimited then the cost of purchase is around £2.50 per book

The fact that they are so visual would also make them appealing to younger children even if they can't yet fully comprehend the content and older children would greatly benefit from them too. To get a little look inside a few of these books then just visit these links;

                   Honey bee body parts flash cards
                   Honey bee recipe book
                   Honey Bee body parts
                   Honey bee chores
                   Honey bee life cycle
                   Honey bee reads time
                   Honey bee facts
                   Honey bee family and home
                   Honey bee life cycle flash cards
                   Honey bee family and home flash cards
                   Honey bee dictionary
                   Honey bee counting book

In the entire collection there are at least 15 booke though some of them are duplicated as they have produced a book and 'flash cards' in the same titles.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

A.G.M. Fun!!

So last Tuesday saw the A.G.M. for Grantham District Beekeepers. Considering the amount of members we have in the District the turnout wasn't great but the old faithfuls attended and the meeting went smoothly.

I do understand people not rushing to attend an A.G.M., they can be a bit long winded and boring which is why we had the food and raffle to follow so that people could have a bit of a chat and of course we did have Annabels file for perusal this year. This was what Annabel had put together and will be presented to the Education Committee at the next meeting to see whether or not she will get to keep the hive and bees presented to her earlier this year as part of the 'Leslie Thorne Award'.

Her file was very well put together and we are hoping that Education are impressed with her progress over the last year.

As well as all of the above taking place we also had to nominate someone to receive the 'Roy Parker Pin' for 2016. This is a lovely handmade brooch which was gifted to Grantham District By Roy Parkers' daughter who is a jewelry maker.

The Roy Parker Pin.
The Roy Parker Pin.
Roy's daughter made one for her Father last year and presented it to her Dad at the 2014 A.G.M. At this time she also presented an extra brooch to Grantham District which last year was presented to Andrew Rock for stepping very quickly and efficiently into the role of Treasurer after our last treasure suddenly stepped down.

During a committee meeting prior to the A.G.M. it was suggested that Annabel was the most deserving member of the brooch this year and so was presented with this during the A.G.M.

Annabel being presented with the 'Roy Parker pin' By The Chair of Grantham District, 'Jez'.
Annabel being presented with the
'Roy Parker pin' By The Chair of
Grantham District, 'Jez'.

Annabel had no idea she was to receive the pin and so was a little shocked but I am sure she was very happy to have been chosen and even gave me a smile a little later on!!

Annabel being presented with the 'Roy Parker pin' By The Chair of Grantham District, 'Jez'.
Annabel having a closer look
at the brooch.

So all in all a nice A.G.M. with many topics covered and much discussed.
A Christmas social activity was settled on whilst there and all members will be e-mailed about this in good time.
We also got plenty of open apiary dates secured for next year which members will again be notified of in good time.

Remember open apiaries are for ALL members...not just full members so if you don't have your own bees then this is a wonderful opportunity for you to partake in and remember that the district have suits available for members to use if you do not own one.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Grantham District LBKA AGM

Please find below the details & agenda for the 2015 Grantham District Beekeepers AGM. We hope to see many members attending. Immediately following AGM there will also be a social gathering with buffet so it would be great if you can let us know either way if you are attending. 

Subs for 2016 can also be paid on the night. 

Grantham District LBKA
AGM 7.30 pm 17.11.2015
The Railway Club Off Huntingtower Road Grantham


1.         Welcome from Chair:

2.         Apologies:

3.         Minutes from AGM 18.11.2014:

4.         AOB from last meeting:

5.         Treasurer’s Report:

6.         Membership secretary’s report:

7.         Social & publicity officers’ report:

8.         Report from Central Council:

9.         Beginners’ course 2015 & 2016:

10.       Leslie Thorne Award:

11.       Award of the Roy Parker Pin:

12.       Election of Officers:

13.       Proposals / Discussion points:

Proposal 1:

Application for purchase of equipment through matched funding with LBKA

14.         AOB:

Catherine Bennett
Grantham District LBKA – note new email address!

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Bee Drenching.

On Sunday 4th October whilst doing a hive inspection we gave the bees a good drenching. I have been putting ‘Hive Alive’ in the syrup which I have been feeding them to give them a boost and ‘drenching’ is a method suggested on the packaging.
To ‘drench’ the bees you make a 1:1 sugar syrup and add 1ml of ‘Hive Alive’ to every 100ml of syrup. You then put this in a spray bottle and use this to spray the frames within the hive. It is an easy process as you spray the bees too so it is quick to apply. Simply take a frame out of the hive, spray both sides and replace. Continue systematically through the hive thoroughly spraying each frame including wax, brood, eggs and bees.
Hive alive;
• Only product proven to make your colonies 89% stronger and
   more productive*
• Promotes intestinal well-being
• Quickest and easiest to use
• Prevents syrup from fermenting
• Additional uses and benefits

In the hive we go!!

Drenching the bees was easy but sticky work.
Each frame was removed and both sides sprayed
with the syrup solution.

deformed wing virus and varoa mite.

Here you can see the droplets of sugar syrup on the bees as well as healthy bees and eggs. I also noticed the bee with the deform wing virus and the varroa mite. Drenching can help with both of these problems.

Healthy brood pattern.

Healthy brood pattern with honey stores surrounding. The bees were nice and calm throughout the drenching and we saw the queen who hatched and mated in 2015 and is marked blue.

To find out more about 'HiveAlive' and it's benefits to bees go here. I did!!

By Annabel McCabe.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Autumn Lecture

Lincolnshire Beekeepers’ Association
Registered Charity number 500360

Autumn Lecture:
Energy in Creation, Honey bees and Humans
The evolution of honeybees and humans from the origin of the universe to the present day - how much human society will have to change if it is to become sustainable. Honeybees regulate every aspect of their society for the general good whilst we waste our knowledge and our resources, contaminating even the environment upon which we depend. And yet, it is still not too late to change our ways if we can learn the lessons that are all around us.

Professor Robert Pickard
Professor Pickard is an international authority on the biology of honeybees.  He is Emeritus Professor of Neurobiology at the university of Cardiff and Visiting Professor at the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester as well as a Fellow of the Society of Biology and the Royal Society of Medicine, President of Cardiff BKA and the UK Central Association of Beekeepers.
William Farr School
Lincoln Road Welton

7:30pm Wednesday 21st October 2015
Admission free to LBKA Members
£3 non-members
refreshments & raffle
Northern Bee Books.

Pay on the door or in advance
For further details or to book a place please contact

Catherine Sheen, Secretary, Education Committee, LBKA

Friday, 2 October 2015

Autumn Inspections.

Autumn inspections are still important to carry out even though there should now be no risk of your bees swarming.
These inspections should cover all the same points as your summer inspections with of course the exception of trying to locate swarm cells so can be carried out quicker as the weather cools down.

If you have any weak colonies then now is the time to think about how you can strengthen them for the coming winter months. Always check for diseases first and check for the amount of varroa infestation before you think about how best to go about strengthening such colonies.

Annabel inspecting her bees.
 If you have quite a weak stock of bees that are healthy then you can consider uniting them with a stronger colony for the winter which will inevitably give them all a better chance of survival. If the colony is queenless then you can combine easily by placing the two brood boxes together with newspaper between so that by the time the bees have eaten through the paper they will accept each other and untie as one large colony.

If both hive have queens then you need to decide which is the most productive queen and locate the one you don't want any remove and kill her before combining the two hives as above. Although this may seem drastic and doesn't 'have' to be done, you can't guarantee that if you leave both queens in the hive to fight it out that the stronger one will be the survivor so you will be no better off the following spring.

Reasons for 're-queening'may be; Bad strain/aggressive bees.
                                                      Drone laying queen.
                                                      Queen not laying well, (bad brood pattern etc.)
                                                      Queen not laying at all.

Newly marked 2015 queen.
Once you have gone through these processes then if you can locate your queen it's a good idea to record her condition and if possible mark her. Marking her will make her more visible for future inspections and easier to locate when the hive has a lot of bees again next summer.

Your queen should still be laying although this will be at a reduced rate now the weather is cooler and you shouldn't see any 'drone' brood in the hive.

If you have any questions about combining hives or re-queening and how to go about it then don't hesitate to get in touch and we will help out any way we can.

Friday, 25 September 2015

As summer becomes Autumn.

Well the days are getting shorter and colder, the leaves are starting to change colour and the flowers are starting to dwindle.

Autumn is fast approaching and with it the nectar flow will dwindle and the bees will spend less time flying. Less time flying and reduced nectar flow means less honey production for the bees and so we need to make sure that our colonies are strong enough and have sufficient enough stores to survive the winter season.

While there is a honey flow the bees are usually good tempered but with the end of summer fast approaching and less honey stores on your hives after your harvest you may find that your bees are a little more aggressive.

There are many tasks you can carry out this time of year...some which are essential to your bees having a good chance of making through the winter.

Queen Excluder.
Queen excluders should now be removed from the hives. These are put in place throughout the summer to ensure that the queen only lays eggs in the brood box so that honey is stored and can be extracted from the 'supers' throughout the main season. However with stores left on for the winter if you do not remover the queen excluder then the queen will not be able to move up and feed over the winter months and die. Dramatic but true!! If you have a feeder in place then excluders can also hinder the bees reaching the feed which you put on the hive.

Entrance block.
Entrance blocks should also be sorted out now.mOver the summer when the colonies are strong we can make the hive entrances larger to make access easier for the bees but with the colonies slowing down in preparation for cooler months these can now be put back in/turned round to make entrances smaller therefore making it easier for the bees to guard the hives from would be problems such as wasps, mice etc.

My hive block is plastic and came with my poly hive but they can also be wooden and you can make them yourself too which can give you the added advantage of being able to make as many holes as is suitable for your needs and the exact size you want.

Wasps are a real nuisance at this time of the year so it is also a good idea to set up some wasp traps and of you have any wasp nests nearby which are causing problems think about destroying them.

Now is also the time to give your hives a good check over, make sure your hive is sound and stable ready for the winter months. Remember broken lids and floors could lead to the demise of your bees over the winter as it will be harder for them to keep damp out and maintain a good temperature within the hive.

If you have your hive on stands make sure they are stable and if your hives aren't on stands make sure entrances are clear and will not become an issue if there is heavy rain for prolonged periods.

So these are the first steps to follow for Autumn...I will be back soon with some more helpful tips/reminders.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Good bees want new home !!

Looking to offload one of my hives so I can reduce my numbers, the colony I'm thinking off has a two month old queen who's been laying well for about five or six weeks. The parent Queen has a great temperament and these seem to be good too so seems a shame for me to merge them with another colony.

I'd like to sell them for a small sum to cover the cost of treatments etc but loads less than what anyone would expect from elsewhere.

If anyone is interested just leave a message on the Grantham Beekeepers Facebook page.

Stewart Maher, Member of Grantham District Beekeepers.

Marked Queen of 2015

Calm Bees, good size colony.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

A Wednesday Walk

Mating bumble bees

Pretty sweet peas.

Roses are red.....

I love the contrast of the different shape and colour leaves.

and roses are yellow!!

weeds are pretty too!!

Pretty hedgerows.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Barrowby Scouts Open Apiary

So a few weeks ago Jez and I went to visit the Barrowby Scout Group at the Scout hut in Barrowby and gave them a talk on bees and bee keeping. We took a few bits along and a hive for the children to look at and they all engaged really well and asked lots of questions without too much prompting.

The group were between 10 and 14 years old and after meeting the group and giving them the talk we then arranged with the Scout leaders an open apiary so that the children could see the bees first hand and get the experiences of sight, smell and sound or the bees first hand.

the scouts all kitted out and ready to visit the hives
the scouts all kitted out and
ready to visit the hives

busy bees on a warm evening.
The bees were busy and calm
on the warm evening.

blue marked queen spooted by the scouts
The queen in the hive was marked
blue and was spotted quickly by
the scouts.

It was a great evening and all the scouts were very mature around the hives. You don't know until you are faced with a full colony of bees whether or not you are going to be okay with it but all the scouts did remarkably well and I commend them and their Scout leaders on there behavior and maturity.

As a District this was a great opportunity for us to share some of our knowledge and let people know who we are and all about our group. If you have a group you would like us to visit and talk to then please don't hesitate to get in contact.

Monday, 27 July 2015

The Bee Book For Beginners By Frank Randall (Book Review)

This is a nice book for someone interested in looking further into beekeeping before they embark on the actual task. Plenty of info in it without being too overwhelming when you just want to look into things or are just starting out.

A note from the author;


Thank you for taking the time to look at my book.

If you have a taste for honey or an adventurous side, maybe you have thought of becoming a beekeeper. What would you really be in for, though? Is it really a job or is it a fun way to get your own honey? Well, it's really both.

Being a beekeeper is a lot of work, but it also has a lot of benefits. Anyone can do it, as long as they are prepared. You can't just wake up one day, decide to be a beekeeper and start immediately. You have to know what you are doing.

That's why I have written this book. Within its pages, you'll discover the tools you need to be a beekeeper, what to expect from your hive, how to harvest your honey, and how to protect the hive from various problems and invaders. I'll teach you what types of bees are best to keep, the jobs of each bee in the hive, how to choose and position your hives, and more
When I started keeping bees, I spent a lot of time and money on a lot of books before I was sure that apiculture was going to be a part of my life.

This easy to read beginner's book summarizes the essential information I have learned over the years and is written to help you decide if beekeeping will fit into your life.

Best wishes, 

Available from amazon for either an e-reader or to buy in paperback.

Paperback £4.98
Downloadable £2.99
Kindle Unlimited Subscribers FREE

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Treason in The Ranks!!!

Finn Hogan's newsletter to GBS, reproduced with his permission . I feel for them, murderous cack handed pair though they are . . .  

There’s no easy way to break this news. Like a Shakespearian tragedy: TREASON.

Everything has been working so well since last we spoke, Hive 2 and our old queen have been busy building their new life in pastures new. We had taken away their food supplements to spur them on a bit because if you feed them they become lazy teenagers, mooching about the house, raiding the fridge, wearing bee onesies and running up the phone bill. So now they have to go out, get a job, stop treating the place like a hotel, my house my rules that kind of thing and it appears to be working well. The queen is laying again, the hive is busy and looking promising.

Hive 1 was always going to be the money maker, if you go out and have a look Hive 2 looks like a retirement community, the (relative) size of a bungalow in Somerset, Hive 1 is like Canary wharf. We have 2 brood boxes for staff and a super box for honey production in the penthouse. We had moved the old queen out of here when we saw that they were creating a new queen and might swarm and it has to be said, it looked like we had done the wrong thing for a while.

There had be no sign of egg laying when we thought a new queen should be ready to lay. For a week we had a fear that we had done the wrong thing but then… 2 weeks ago… Success! Obvious signs of egg laying, new larvae in the top brood box and even capped brood. This was a strong queen. Things were indeed looking up.

During the inspection eagle-eyed Butler spotted our new queen. This in itself is a bit of a coup as you can inspect a hive of this size over and over and not spot the queen. We weren’t prepared for this exciting turn of events so Mick had to run back to the equipment bench to grab the queen press and the marker (a sight to behold, a man running in full bee keeping regalia).

The Crown Of  Thorns, fit for any queen.
The Crown Of  Thorns, fit for any queen.
The queen press is a nasty looking medieval torture type bit of kit, we are never thrilled about using it, too many spiky death bits for my liking, but you have to work with what you’ve got and if you’re careful all should be well.

The way it works is straight forward enough, spot the queen, isolate as best you can and then push the press down over her so that the cage traps her against the comb. That way she is secured enough to mark her back so that every other inspection will be a walk in the park. That’s if all goes to plan. It didn’t. It didn’t at all.

Queen secure under the crown of thorns and marked blue for a '5' year.
Queen secure under the crown of
thorns and marked blue for a '5' year.
Here is our queen. Looking at it you wouldn’t think there was a problem, she’s secure looking, not too much pressure on her body, that is essential to her keeping her ability to lay. Don’t squish the abdomen.

You don’t know it yet but this is a truly macabre picture, a murder scene, CSI stuff. We were dancing a keepers jig, letting the paint on her back dry off. Queen found, a new dawn for Hive 1.

I took the press off her, she rolled over like a Greek ferry. Legs in the air, twitching, we stopped jigging. She stopped twitching.

I won’t quote what expletives came out of our mouths at that point, we had done quite possibly the worst thing we could have. Murdered her Majesty. TREASON! I can only think that looking at the picture here, that the frame squished her head, not something either of us had bargained for, or indeed noticed at the time. Look at the picture, yeah ok, she looks a little uncomfortable but not in any life threatening danger!

The thing is, she was still moving. It’s not too late we thought, I pushed her upright, her ladies in waiting gathered around her, wailing and moaning at the sight that was in front of them. We didn’t know what to do. So what did we do? We slid the frame back in the hive, put the whole thing back together and tip-toed away.

All that is left to say is, please don’t come for me with flaming torches and pitch forks, the bees are a resilient bunch and we still have options. They will produce another queen in time as they can use one of the fresh eggs that has already been laid to manufacture a new one OR and more excitingly we could buy a new queen from the internet, this is an option if only to see how she arrives in the post! Until then, the flags are flying at half-mast over Hive 1 and my trial starts when they have gathered all the evidence.

PS  I have had trouble sleeping as the below image has been indelibly burned on my memory. Look at the workers all worriedly gathered around her. Awful.

Worried workers rally round there queen.
Worried workers rally round there queen.

Finn (Murdering) Hoggan
Warehouse Team Leader and queen killer 

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Bee Keepers Taster Afternoon

Lincolnshire beekeepers’ Association
Registered Charity No 500360

Are you interested in 


Not sure what’s involved?

Why not come to LBKA’s



Saturday 8th August 2015

2.00 pm at

EH Thorne (Beehives) Ltd

Rand, Wragby, LN8 5NJ

Fee: £15 per person

Children under 18 free if accompanying an adult.
Come and meet some beekeepers and their bees
Bee suits or bee jackets and disposable gloves will be provided, but please wear long trousers, long-sleeved shirt and, if possible, boots. (The bees won’t be happy if they get stuck going up your trousers – and neither will you!)
We will tell you something about what is involved in beekeeping, answer your questions, show you some of the equipment and, weather permitting, look into some hives of bees.
If you decide beekeeping is for you we can guide you on where and how to learn more.
Contact: Catherine Sheen 01400 281481
Numbers are limited and payment in advance is necessary to confirm your booking

Lincolnshire beekeepers’ Association
Registered Charity No 500360

Taster Afternoon
Saturday 8th August 2015
2.00 pm at THORNES
Rand, near Wragby, LN8 5NJ
Bee suits or bee jackets and disposable gloves will be provided, but please wear long trousers, long-sleeved shirt and, if possible, boots. (The bees won’t be happy if they get stuck going up your trousers – and neither will you!)
We will tell you something about what is involved in beekeeping, answer your questions, show you some of the equipment and, weather permitting, look into some hives of bees.
If you decide beekeeping is for you we can guide you on where and how to learn more.
Contact: Catherine Sheen 01400 281481
Fee: £15 per person
Children under 18 free but must be accompanied by a fee paying adult. Cheques payable to ‘LBKA’
Numbers are limited and payment in advance is necessary to confirm your booking
Lincolnshire Beekeepers’ Association
Taster Afternoon
Thornes, Rand 8th August 2015
Name .........................................................................................................................................................
Address  ....................................................................................................................................................
Telephone: ............................................................................................... Age if under 18: ....................
Email: ........................................................................................................................................................
Although generally very docile, honey bees can sting. We will try to avoid this happening and will provide you with protective clothing and gloves when near the hives, however we cannot be held responsible if you are stung. A very small minority of people can react adversely to stings. In case this should happen would you please provide details of someone we could contact on your behalf.

Contact name.......................................................... Telephone.................................................................
In addition to the 'Taster Afternoon' Thornes have a lovely coffee shop you can visit and a wonderful 'Bee Museum' where you can read about how Thornes started out and see some of the older equipment that has been used in years gone by. You can also read about Leslie Thorne and get to know a bit about the man who is, in essence responsible for the 'Leslie Thorne Award' and if you visit the lobby whilst there you can see the miniature beehive with the plaques of names, dates and districts of previous winners of this award including our very own Annabel McCabe!!

Annabel receiving her award with the
miniature bee hive in the background.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Everybody Loves Winnie-the-Pooh!!

 It's always good to get a little outside help in the plight to save the bees!!!


Hope you enjoyed this article taken out of the Daily mirror on Friday 27th June 2015.