Sunday, 27 November 2016

Beekeeping for Dummies; book review

Beekeeping for Dummies;

A book full of a wealth of information and reads well however it is very ‘wordy’ and the majority of the pictures are in black and white so not very helpful visually if you are just starting out.
Available to buy an amazon; £14.18
Kindle edition; £14.14

Thursday, 20 October 2016

First Europe-wide approval of the New Varroa Treatment - VARROMED


First Europe-wide approval of the New Varroa Treatment
Regarding – First Europe-wide approval of the New Varroa Treatment - VARROMED 
 Today we, BeeVital (, approach you with important news for the beekeeping world. BeeVital is a leading Bee Health company from Austria, specialized in natural products and treatments for Honey Bees.

We are very happy to inform you that after 4 years of intense work and efforts, BeeVital has received a positive opinion from the European Medicines Agency for the registration of our Varroacide VARROMED.
During its October meeting the Committee for Veterinary Medicinal Products (CVMP) has overwhelmingly voted in favor of our application to register VARROMED in all of Europe

The CVMP decision means that VARROMED will be available in all European countries, making VARROMED,
• The first EU wide registered veterinary medicine (VMP) for bees – ever!
• The first Varroa Treatment approved for “Spring Treatment, “Late summer / Autumn Treatment” and “Winter Treatment”. This means it is
• The first year-around option to combat the Varroa mite – the bees worst enemy
• The first product to have a zero day withdrawal period in combination with a year round indication.

Do not hesitate to contact us for more information. Please also find more details in the PRESS RELEASE below.

Yours sincerely,

DI Dominik N. Hohl, MBA, CEO and
Werner G. Hohl, Founder

Thursday, October 13, 2016, Salzburg/Austria.

New Varroa Treatment VARROMED – the 1st ever Bee Medicine with EU-wide approval: Ready-to-use for Spring/Autumn/Winter treatment

BeeVital introduces new Medicine against Varroosis:
For the first time the European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommended the registration of a product for bees.

VARROMED was shown to be effective in all European climate zones and will be approved for “Spring, Autumn and Winter Treatment”. This makes VARROMED the first Varroa treatment that can be used at all relevant times throughout the beekeeping year.

This approval marks a milestone in Europe-wide combating of Varroosis, still the No. 1 problem worldwide for bees and beekeepers.

VARROMED is a ready-to-use product based on a combination of natural components with the active ingredients oxalic acid and formic acid. This combination leads to increased efficacy against Varroa mites and to a better tolerance  by the bees.
The new product has been scientifically tested in the most extensive field studies with locations in Vienna, Stuttgart, Celle and Madrid representing Continental, Maritime and Mediterranean climate. Spring, Autumn and Winter tests for each climate zone were undertaken to prove the excellent efficacy of the product. The result is a product that can be used at any critical moment throughout the beekeeping year and in the Varroa life-cycle. This makes VARROMED ideal for use in integrated pest management (IPM).
"With our new product we help to effectively combated the Varroa infestation in the bee colonies and to better keep the mite levels under control," says Werner Hohl, founder of BeeVital.
VARROMED is an easy to use liquid formulation that is directly applied onto the bees simplifying Varroa treatment. For the distribution in the colony VARROMED makes use of the bees own hygienic instinct – the grooming behaviour. Due to the nature of the ingredients VARROMED does not pose any risks to honey production. In fact, this is reflected in the zero-day-withdrawal period of VARROMED approved by the EMA.

"We are looking forward to working with the beekeepers and beekeeping associations all over Europe and to continue our successful collaborations with the beekeeping community, which we have established over the past years. With our new product VARROMED we contribute significantly to the promotion of bee health. The introduction to the markets is scheduled for beginning of 2017.

BeeVital will remain committed to developing and providing natural solutions for bee health and animal welfare."
Dominik Hohl, CEO of BeeVital GmbH.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Her Royal Highness.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Sales and Extractors

The days are swiftly getting shorter and colder and we will all before long be leaving the bees alone for winter.

Sale days are upon us and I attended Thornes sale day today. This is the first I have attended but on Catherine's recommendation I ordered my things in advance and they were packaged and waiting for me when I arrived this morning. It was all incredibly efficient....I think Thornes have been taking lessons from the bees!!

After collecting my order we went for a bite to eat and a drink before a wander through the shop. There certainly were a lot of people and even a few familiar faces too!!

My main purchase was my honey spinner. I have always borrowed one in the past but this isn't always easy as people often want to spin honey at the same time and after being shown this one I knew it was the spinner for me!!

I went for a manual extractor, I only have three hives so it will be enough for me. This is a three frame extractor and is clear so ideal for demonstrations which with all the talks I have been giving of late I knew would be just perfect!!

Obviously everyone is different and have their own opinions but what matter is that I am very happy with my purchase!!

I also grabbed some honey spoons, posters and an un-capping tray. So that's me all set for next year....except tht is for the last bits of winter prep on the hive.....hopefully tomorrow for that though!!

Saturday, 1 October 2016


I have been keeping bees for about 4 years now and I am so glad I got somewhere to place my hives as I have really enjoyed the hives, the education, and the journey but of late I have been realising that it isn't just that I've helped the bees, I feel that they have helped me improve myself too.

When I sat my Diploma (many,many years ago!) we had to do a series of observations over the years as this was to be part and parcel of my job. I like to think that I was quite an observant person anyway but was happy to be given the tools to improve this. We had to observe visually and this has certainly helped with my hive inspections...but now I find that my hive inspections have somewhat heightened my other senses and made me more observant of them too.

When I go to my hives to do an inspection firstly I always do the visual check, hives all secure....entrances clear of debris.....pollen and bees going in and out.....wasp activity around the hive.

                                 Photo: Bees still happy

But then observation with the eyes cease and it's my other senses that initially take over. After all, I need to get off a roof, a crown board, some supers and then a queen excluder before I am then really going to put my eyes to good use again to check for brood, larvae and eggs. And yet before I do any of that I can alert myself to a potential problem within the hive by using my nose and my ears. Two senses of observation that I really only thought about more closely over the last couple of weeks.

I don't know about the rest of you but when I first crack that lid on the hive I immediately stop....and that point I can often tell if there may be a problem...purely from the buzz of the bees. Then of course there is the 'scent' of the hive. Bees use it all the time...their Queens pheromone to help them navigate...but that scent helps us to pick out problems too. For any of you that aren't beekeepers I can't describe it to you...but there is a wonderful scent to a healthy hive and one that I am quite addicted to. I don't know if anyone else can describe it...personally I think it needs to be anyone out there who doesn't have bees feel free to get in touch with me...I'd be happy to take you into my hives next year so you can experience it first hand!!

But my senses of observation being heightened haven't stopped at the hives, I notice myself noticing more whilst I am out and about. I don't know whether it is because I have become more attuned to buzzing and scent but I seem to notice now if there is activity about and it makes me stop and look, maybe because I now know what I am looking for it makes more sense for me to observe...I don't know...I just know that I owe a lot more to the bees than just honey!!

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Natures textiles.

Took a few pics whilst spinning my frames...nothing special and please don't point out to me what I already know which is that some of them need replacing this year...however I  just thought the photos were a nice reminder of what incredible creatures our honey bees are!!

So the next time you want to curse them for their unpredictability or their stings just remember what amazing little beings they are and that in fact we do just go and invade their homes. I find I have the greatest respect for my matter what mood they are in...but that is for another...much wordier post so for now just enjoy the pictures!!

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Humming with bees

This year on holiday we went to Alnwick. We hired a wonderful house for a week and overhanging the front garden from the neighbours was a beautiful fuchsia.

This stood about 6 foot tall and was about as wide and to my amazement on a daily basis was absolutely humming with bees!!

at times there were so many that it sounded like standing next to my hives at home....even funnier was the fact that my son (definitely not a bee lover!) wouldn't sit in the garden at the picnic table!! They always visited the fuchsia in the mornings when the sun was on it and then by the afternoon as the sun moved round and it fell into shade it would go quiet and we wouldn't see them again (much to my sons delight) until the following day!!

I had no idea that a fuchsia could be so good for the bees so I looked it up;

Description of Hardy Fuchsia

Fuchsia Magellanica is a prolific source of nectar for honey bees and bumblebees. The pendant nature of the flowers provides the nectar with good protection from rain. Although Hardy Fuchsia may die down in harsh winters it bursts back into life in spring and flowers for many months from June onwards. Ideal for informal hedging, this deciduous shrub should be planted in partial sun. 

Definitely one I am going to be looking to plant next year !!

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

A bit of an 'oopsy'

So on Sunday i went over to my hives to take some supers of honey off for extraction. The super removal all went according to plan and was very smoothly done. Take a frame out...give it a shake...brush off any lingering bees and pop it into an empty super. Annabel and juliette were there with a couple of friends and we got it done in no tie with a little working line on the go.

As always with removing supers you get a few bees lingering around and as my hives are so close I walk them home in a  wheelbarrow, this is what I always do and then when I get home I check the supers...brush off any lingering bees and take them into the kitchen.

Sunday was a little different however, I had been up the allotment for three hours and it was quite a warm day so between tasks I had consumed quite a lot of liquid....this of course meant the inevitable...I was desperate to use the toilet. So on Sunday when I got home I pushed the wheelbarrow up the garden and left it whist I went to the toilet, I then got talking and thought, 'I'll make a cup of tea', I was a little parched you see!!

This all took about 15 minutes...when i looked out the window this is what I saw......

pied piper of bees!!
Lots of bees in the garden
pied piper of bees
A close up of the bees trying to take their
honey back!!

pied piper of bees
Got this close up of one that landed
on the window!!
So those few that had followed me home had gone back to their hive and told their siblings EXACTLY what I had done with their hard earned liquid gold. You can't really see in the photos but this resulted in a few thousand bees being out in the garden!!

Now a few thousand bees in nothing to a beekeeper however the Hubby and Son REALLY don't like bees and were not at all happy about the current situation. Doors and windows were hastily shut by them and my Son actually told me he wasn't going to work unless I went and got his bike out the shed for him...of course I quite happily did this and didn't get bothered by the bees at all!!

So the sun set, the bees went home, I fetched the supers in and all was quiet once again. That was until the next morning when the bees got up and came right back to the garden!! Of course the supers were no longer there for them to try and get at but it didn't stop them coming. Slowly it got less and when I went to work monday afternoon there were only a few hundred hanging around the garden. This however was still far too many for the Hubby who didn't go out biking that evening as I was at work and couldn't get his bike out and, 'There were too many (there were a few expletives...use your imagination!) bees in the garden!' My son just rolled his eyes at me and shook his head!!

Anyway it's Tuesday today and the garden has only had the 'normal' bee activity so I guess by this morning they had realised that there was no longer anything for them. I told a couple of people...both of whom found it amusing and one referred to me as 'The pied piper of bees', I kind of liked that!!

As for the was well worth it,

Lovely golden honey.
Lovely golden honey.
Hubby is happier with the honey than he was with the bees!!

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Is it really Manuka Honey??


Monday, 5 September 2016

Bee Sign

Just thought I'd share my new shed sign with you. It's a metal sign , great pictures and looks great on my shed. Got it for a great price from amazon.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Annabel's first beekeeping year in a nutshell!!!

Annabel was the first Junior member to join Grantham District Beekeepers. Annabel first became interested in beekeeping when I got my bees and showed great enthusiasm and helped me out with bee inspections and hive manipulations so her Mum enrolled her on the Beginners Beekeepers course that Grantham have held on a yearly basis.

Such was Annabels enthusiasm that we entered her for the Leslie Thorne Award which she won last year and so was gifted her own hive and a colony of bees which she received last May.

No beekeepers year is ever straight forward and Annabels year has certainly not bee an exception to the rule but throughout it she has gained much knowledge and experience. Annabels experiences have been great learning curves for her and over the year she has;

  • Built a hive
  • built frames
  • Collect a colony of bees.
  • been stung
  • Talked on BBC Radio Lincolnshire about her experiences
  • Moved a colony from a nuc to a hive
  • had her bees swarm...twice
  • Attended the Bee health day
  • attended open apiaries
  • used a frame of eggs from a nearby hive to raise a new queen
  • caught and hived a swarm
  • lost a colony to starvation
  • marked queens
  • carried out varroa treatments
  • used hive alive
  • fed ambrosia syrup
  • made and fed her own sugar syrup
  • looked into the benefits and used 'Hive alive'
  • used oxalic acid Kept records of inspections
  • Carried out inspections independently
  • Annabels latest venture was to merge a queenless hive with a strong queen right colony.

After carrying out the hive merge they were left for three days to themselves and then we went back up to condense down to one brood box. They seemed happy and calm but the final outcome wont be known until a full inspection is carried out his weekend.

Annabel has done incredibly well over the last year and has took every experience either good or bad as a learning curve to further gain her knowledge. I am incredibly proud of the achievements, knowledge and confidence she has gained over the last two years. Annabel is an asset to our District and we are incredibly lucky to have her.

This year we have had a new Junior member join, Jonathon, and I hope that he has as good an experience and enjoys beekeeping as much as Annabel has.

I am hoping that next year Annabel will feel confident enough to take her Junior assessment.

Well done Annabel.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Lovely Lavender!

Well with the improvement in the weather over the last month or so the bees are being ver productive and are loving the lavender....

Lavender bush in my garden.
I have just the one bush in my back garden but the all the bees are quite taken with it, bumble, solitary and honey!!

honey bees on lavender
Honey bee just about to land.
honey bees on lavender
Forage, forage, forage!!
honey bees on lavender

With the flowers being quite small they zip around them really quick so the photos aren't great but it was lovely to see the honey bees in the garden. I'd like to think it was my bees collecting some lovely lavender nectar but they could have come from anywhere!! There are plenty more lavender bushes on the allotments and at times they are so full of bees it's like standing near an open hive as you pass, Just the other day one of the allotment tenants commented to me how they had been busy working on their plot and at want point looked to see if maybe there was a swarm flying over they were so abundant within the plants!!

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Inspecting Sarah's bees!!

So the weather has been less than kind this season and quite a few of the open apiaries have had to be cancelled.

Anyway I decided to pop over to Sarah's regardless today although an hour later than the OA was planned and upon arriving the rain gave way for a little while so we went down to have a look at the bees.

Sarah decided to look into the hive that didn't have a marked queen and this turned out to be a good idea as we spotted, caught and marked her so it turned out to be a very productive inspection!!

Sarah is a very gentle handler of her hives, frames and bees...far gentler then myself when going through a hive...made me feel a bit bad to be honest....maybe I should try it! The colony we went through were lovely and calm and there was plenty brood and eggs present. As it wasn't my hives and I wasn't inspecting I got to play with the camera a little....enjoy the photos!!

bee frame, inspection, stores
Sarah getting the first frame out,
very little in the way of stores.
a colony of bees
The colony.
honey bee worker brood
Lovely brood pattern
capped brood, eggs, larvae, grubs
Capped brood on the outer frame,3 day
old larvae and grubs in the centre.
honey bees in the hive
The photos above and below were taken by me placing
the lens of the camera at the hive entrance,
hence the reason they look upside down!

honey bees in the hive

honey bees protecting and feeding eggs and larvae.
This frame brimming with bees is also full
of newly laid eggs!!
honey bee
Hi Bee.
I love the way the camera picks
what it wants to focus on!

honey bees in hive and flight.
Looking across at the other hives
and watching the bees fly!
Drone brood and queen cups
Drone brood and queen cups,
nothing in those cups though!!
Bees being capped off just before pupating.
Bees being capped off just
before pupating.
Brace comb from under the queen excluder
Brace comb from under the queen excluder
which the bees are cleaning out.
One or two dead bees whilst you inspect is inevitable!!
One or two dead bees whilst you
inspect is inevitable!!
Lift off!!!
queen bee hunt
They just realised where their
queen is located!!
honey...never waste a drop!!
These last few are too busy eating honey
remnants to care!!
We did find the hive quite low on stores so after sorting out the Supers Sarah placed an empty box on top and will put some syrup on tonight. The weather is supposed to be picking up next week but you never really know so better to be safe than sorry as they really are a beautifully natured colony!!